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Super Dinosaur

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Super Dinosaur TV Poster Image
Action-packed comics-inspired series has tense battles.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

 

Positive Messages

Kids see Derek and his team work together to defeat the story's villains. Each member has special talents and skills he brings to the group effort, and all are needed. The bad guys are easy to identify. In his relationship with his father, Derek demonstrates compassion and patience. Although the field is dominated by men, some scientists in the story are women. Gross-out humor includes matters like an extensive burping contest at the dinner table.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Derek is clever and thinks well on his feet. He's a creative problem solver who isn't in it for the glory but revels in a job well done. His father's acuity is affected by an incident from the past, but in his clearer moments, he shows his brilliance in the field of technology. Villains are cunning and single-minded in their desire to control the world.

 

Violence & Scariness

Battle scenes get intense. Dino-men use blades, battle axes, daggers, and other weapons, as well as devices that shoot shrapnel and laser blasts. Explosions, long falls, and some brief torture, as when Derek's arms are stretched to the point of pain. Perilous situations, and some scares as menacing creatures intimidate and threaten to harm characters.

 

Sexy Stuff
Language

nsults like "jerk" and "brat."

 

Consumerism

The series is inspired by comic books of the same name.

 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Super Dinosaur is inspired by a comic book series of the same name and follows the efforts of a boy and his genetically engineered dinosaur to keep villains bent on world domination. The show has all kinds of things action-loving kids will enjoy -- cool tech gear and gadgets, a self-confident boy hero and his loyal sidekick, and baddies you love to hate -- but it also has some pretty intense battle scenes, a variety of weapons, and name-calling ("jerk" and "brat," in particular) that kids might emulate. As such, it's more appropriate for older kids and tweens who can grasp the intricacies of the characters' relationships and identify the fantasy-based action for what it is. Those who do watch will see some positive examples of respect, compassion, and friendships that defy expectations. 

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What's the story?

In SUPER DINOSAUR, young crime fighter Derek Dynamo (voiced by Valin Shinyea) teams up with his best dinosaur pal, Super Dinosaur (Mac Heywood), to thwart the dastardly scientist Max Maximus (Marco Soriano) and his army of genetically engineered Dino-Men. Maximus invented a powerful substance called Dynore, but Derek and the Earthcore team -- including his brilliant but slightly addled father, Dr. Dexter Dynamo (Alessandro Juliani) -- are determined to keep him from using it for his own evil gain. Together with the Kingston family, the Dynamos match wits and might with Maximus's genetically engineered warriors and other villains who stand in the way of peace. 

Is it any good?

This wild series is all action all the time, thanks mostly to the constant "on"-ness of its main character, Derek. The kid never slows down, not even when he's chilling at home with Super Dinosaur or hanging out with his dad. Instead of being a drain on viewers' interest, though, Derek's energy keeps the action rolling even when the battle scenes are over. He's also a master of one-liners, which he throws out even as he's dishing out physical punishment in battle scenes, adding much humor to the show. 

Super Dinosaur's mix of human and hybrid dino-human characters opens the door for some intriguing personalities and relationships, but the one that stands out most of all is that of Derek and his dad, which often reverses the assumed roles of caregiver and tended. As Dexter's history with Maximus is revealed slowly and the mystery of his ailment are explained, Derek's care for his father remains a constant that allows the elder Dynamo to continue his important work for the team.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Super Dinosaur. Does it serve a purpose? Would the show be as entertaining without it? How does it compare to what you see in other shows you watch?

  • How does technology serve an invaluable purpose in Earthcore's efforts to defeat the villains in the story? Are there any limits to what they can invent or how they can use the gadgets they make? How much of what you see could relate to real life, and what aspects are based on fantasy?

  • How effectively does Derek solve problems? How do they demonstrate good teamwork? What other character strengths stand out to you in the people in the story?

TV details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love dinosaurs

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