A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The kid investigators model critical thinking skills of observation, analysis, evaluation, and explanation as they solve mysteries.
Be open to new friendships. Teamwork makes the dream work. Everyone brings different talents to a team. A "busy mind" may annoy adults, but it makes life more interesting, and can be the key to success. Apologize when you're wrong. Have empathy: people who make bad decisions are often trying to meet some unmet need. Do the right thing, even when it's hard.
Positive Role Models
Likeable, interesting lead characters, each contributes in unique, useful ways: intelligence, humor, enthusiasm, social savvy, etc. Kind, respectful behavior is the norm; kids take responsibility for mistakes, deceptions, and rudeness. Cast is diverse: Maudie and Ava are white, Ezra is Asian, Tyler is black. Stereotypical representations of Ezra as tech-smart, and Kyle as sporty; they are otherwise well-developed characters. Both break gender stereotypes at times (cry, hug, etc.). Girl/boy stereotypes are sometimes evoked, and often promptly debunked. Diverse families represented: Maudie's dad is single – the death of her mother is referred to; another character's parents are getting a divorce.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that InBESTigators is an Australian series featuring four unlikely friends who form a detective agency to solve mysteries brought to them by town locals. Ezra, a precocious, tech-savvy kid, Maudie, the wickedly smart and socially awkward new girl, Tyler, an immensely likable goof, and dramatic Ava are as different as could be, but each bring unique talents to the team. Though not officially an educational show, the pint-sized detectives use the critical thinking skills of observation, analysis, evaluation, and explanation in the course of their investigations. Themes of kindness, teamwork, and responsibility make this a solid pick, which also has a racially diverse cast that often defies gender roles.
Is It Any Good?
This hilarious mockumentary comedy is a delight to watch along with kids. The little actors' lines are often dripping with kid-friendly sarcasm and good-natured humor, and these cheeky kid detectives will keep parents chuckling along with their young viewers. The mysteries in The InBESTigators are generally low stakes (missing bake sale money, prank callers, a turtle thief), but sophisticated enough to keep big kid viewers engaged and guessing along. The morals and values that get emphasized once a mystery is solved are relevant to young tweens.
It's delightful to see super smart Maudie take charge on the investigations, but it can also seem like there are stereotypes attached to Ezra and Kyle. Aside from this critique, the show has role-model worthy characters, life lessons that don't come off as preachy, and adults who largely trust kids to solve their own problems; it's an enjoyable, age-appropriate comedy for tweens, and parents will be entertained as well.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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