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The Bravest Knight
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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Bravest Knight is an animated series about a young girl who's learning how to be a knight from her two adoptive dads. The same-sex relationship at the emotional heart of the story is straightforwardly introduced: The husbands say loving things about each other, while the show overall focuses on messages about courage, compassion, and living an authentic life. Violence is toned down; heroes are more likely to use their wits to escape dangerous situations than to physically fight -- but characters like trolls and witches can be slightly scary and may do things like trap a group of young knights in a pit. Knights are unfailingly kind and brave, always ready to help those in some kind of need, and willing to go the extra mile to do their duty. Kindness as an important aspect of courage is emphasized repeatedly. Some jokes are slightly off-color, such as a running gag about a character stepping in and then smelling like "cow poop." Voice talent is diverse in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual identity, and strong messages about inclusion and thoughtfulness are both implicit in storylines and underlined at the end of each episode.
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What's the story?
Based on the book The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived by Daniel Errico, THE BRAVEST KNIGHT takes place in a peaceful kingdom, where 10-year-old Nia (Storm Reid) is an aspiring not-quite-knight learning the ropes of the gallant-and-brave trade from her adoptive dads Cedric (T.R. Knight) and Prince Andrew (Wilson Cruz). It's not always easy growing up into a hero, but with her family and friends on her side, Nia is slowly but surely getting there.
Is it any good?
The two dads at the center of this animated adventure series have been getting most of the attention, but this sweet and charming show lives up to the hype. Besides the rich premise -- who can resist a quirky coming-of-age tale with lots of adventure? -- the best thing this series has going for it is the rich voice talent. With Grey's Anatomy's T.R. Knight as a sympathetic Cedric, Storm Reid (Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time) as a spunky Nia, and a positively bonkers array of guest-starring voices -- RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes -- the voice talent is not just choice and diverse, it's also drawn from a wide spectrum of LGBTQ Hollywood. Kids may not catch it, but it matters, nonetheless.
The Bravest Knight's gentle messages are also easy to love. A lesson to Nia about not trusting things that come easily winds Cedric through an anecdote about the time he and a cadre of brave not-quite-knights fooled a witch into accidentally setting them free from her trap; an admonition not to underestimate your rivals introduces viewers to the noble not-quite-knight Green Leaf, a diminutive girl who was so determined to become a great jouster that she learned how to turn her size into a battle advantage. By linking bravery with hard work, valor with kindness, and strength with compassion, this series gives kids the very best kind of adventure, that's exciting without being stressful, and uplifting instead of aggressive. Count this battle won, Bravest Knight.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how the setting in The Bravest Knight compares to the real world. What aspects of this world are rooted in fantasy? Is any of it relevant to the real world? What place does fantasy have in entertainment? Does entertainment always have to have a strong message, or can it just be fun?
Kids: How is your impression of the world shaped by what you see on TV or in movies? Have you ever changed the way you view something because of something you saw on TV? If so, when? How can we use this power of the media to influence positive change?
Characters in The Bravest Knight generally find a way around using violence to solve problems. What would happen in real life if you tried these same methods? Is the (lack of) violence realistic? Do you like stories in which characters evade danger with wit and cunning rather than use force?
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