By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Girl hero saves the day in so-so preschool series.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Viewers see StarBeam step up to help anytime her community is threatened by a villain. She is mindful of the problem-solving process and always reminds herself to pause and make a plan rather than rushing to fix things impulsively. Mistakes often yield learning opportunities. It is easy to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys, but even so, villains are not scary. Bathroom humor like bad smells is common in some stories.
Positive Role Models
StarBeam is brave and determined, and she asks for help when she needs it. She takes influence from others when it is in the interest of the task at hand, and she never backs down from a challenge. Adult characters generally take a backseat to the kids in the story, but when they are on scene, they guide in positive ways.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that StarBeam is a preschool series about a young girl with a superhero alter ego who defends her town from an array of colorful villains and other menaces with the help of two friends. The stories are very simple and typically involve only one- or two-step solutions and little effort. Even so, the fact that Zoey makes a point of taking a breath and making a plan before proceeding sets a good example of mindfulness and effective problem-solving for young viewers. With comical rather than scary villains, a vibrant animation style, and a female hero with a can-do attitude, this series will entertain preschoolers even if it doesn't make a lasting impression on them.
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What's the Story?
In STARBEAM, 8-year-old Zoey (voiced by Nahanni Mitchell) has a secret. A secret identity, in fact; one that helps her keep her community of Somerset safe. When the town is threatened by mischievous villains or some other trouble, Zoey transforms into StarBeam, a pint-sized superhero with an arsenal of powers. Together with her best friend, Henry a.k.a. "Boost" (Dean Petriw), and her bird, Kipper (Sam Vincent), StarBeam leaps into action to defend the people in her town.
Is It Any Good?
The gregarious female lead helps elevate this formulaic series, but it still struggles to distinguish itself from the many other superhero-style shows meant for preschoolers. Zoey is everyone's friend and a big fan of her hero mom, WonderBeam (Diana Kaarina). In carrying on the family tradition of helping others, she learns problem-solving skills and teamwork with her best friend, Henry.
That said, there's a notable simplicity to StarBeam that's most evident in how Zoey counters the actions of her villainous nemeses. Most situations are diffused with just one or two quick power plays by StarBeam, requiring little thought or planning at all. The end result is always happy, and good always wins the day, but overall the series feels overly simplistic and superficial compared to other preschool picks.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what defines a hero or role model. Do all heroes wear costumes and have super powers? For those who don't, what about their actions makes you call them heroes? How can you show your gratitude to heroes close to home?
Kids: Zoey uses mindfulness to calm herself when things get stressful in StarBeam. How does doing so help her make a more effective plan against the villains in town? What are some strategies you can use when you need to calm your thoughts?
What are some of your favorite shows with main characters who are girls? What are some of Zoey's most prominent character strengths? When does she demonstrate impressive courage? How does she compare to your other favorite TV females?
- Premiere date: April 3, 2020
- Cast: Sam Vincent, Nahanni Mitchell, Dean Petriw
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Superheroes, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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