TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Swashbuckle TV Poster Image
Kids battle pirates in goofy, slapstick game show.

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Positive Messages

Kids play games in order to defeat naughty pirates. It also highlights that acts have consequences. Kids learn teamwork and problem-solving skills. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The pirates are goofy and silly, not scary. 

Violence & Scariness

Losing pirates walk the plank, but no one gets hurt. Contestants often wear safety gear while playing games. 

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Swashbuckle is a family-friendly game show geared towards preschoolers. Although it does feature lots of pirates, there's nothing for kids to fear here. Pirates face consequences for stealing (either by being forced to walk the plank or getting fake jewels), but outside of some folks falling down or bumping into things, there’s nothing violent here. Note that accompanying YouTube streaming content includes narrative shorts, which are more focused on stories than games. 

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What's the story?

SWASHBUCKLE is a British game show that pits kids against a group of hapless pirates. Hosted by Gem (Gemma Hunt) and her parrot Squawk (Conor McNamara) at he Scarlet shipwreck, the series features Captain Sinker (Ella Kenion) and her shipmates Cook and Line (Joseph Elliott and Richard David-Caine) stealing and hiding Gem’s five jewels. ) Four children play two rounds of games in order to win them back. They then get to hunt around the site of the shipwreck for the remaining ones. If they are successful, they get to make some or all three of the pirates walk the plank. 

Is it any good?

This fun series combines quirky humor with simple game playing that kids can easily follow. Captain Sinker (and in later seasons Captain Captain (Jennie Dale) and HeyHo (Sophia Nomvete) is a bold character that inspires laughs instead of fear, and the pirates’ overall antics, which lean towards slapstick, is designed to appeal to children. Despite some minor focus on counting (for example, the number of jewels found or lost), most of the show’s educational value comes from learning how to play games and being good sports. But Swashbuckle is ultimately about presenting a low-key, low-stakes bit of fun for families. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about pirates. Why are they known for stealing treasure? What are some of the ways pirates are depicted on TV and film? 

  • Swashbuckle is a game show, but can you learn any lessons from watching or playing it? Do you like competing and games?

TV details

For kids who love game shows

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