The Last Bus
By Monica Encarnacion,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fantasy violence, brave teens in binge-worthy sci-fi.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Strong multiracial female characters who are open with friends and speak their feelings -- being confident is cool! Boy characters who break stereotypical roles by showing feelings and emotions -- it's OK to cry, it's OK to show love. Great things happen when we work together. Friends always have your back. Be loyal to your friends. Be brave. Believe in yourself and never give up. Bullying is something to stand up to; kids stand up for classmates even when they're not necessarily friends. Bullies are given a second chance. Being smart is valued. The good guys always win and love can conquer all!
Positive Role Models
Curious, courageous characters. Strong, confident girl characters. Some bullying but characters evolve, build courage and confidence with a little help from their friends. Positive depictions of male and female friendships, of friends supporting one another through tough times. Being smart is cool: A wiz kid dabbles in science, tinkers with power sources and gadgets to save the day. A Black girl exudes positivity and confidence and is seen by classmates as the coolest kid in school.
All characters are presumably European since the show is British, but kids of color are well represented. The diverse group demonstrates courage and kindness. Kids from all walks of life learn to work together and build strong friendships. Highlighted are lifelong friendships between boys and girls, and white and Black characters. Girls are smart, strong, confident, brave.
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Violence & Scariness
Intense peril without gore. Protagonists face disastrous moments and have to find ways to make it out alive. Humankind (including teachers and parents) get zapped away, their fate unknown. Intense feelings around loss: Josh struggles to accept the loss of his mom. Many scary moments, including kids getting chased and zapped by lasers, a Transformer-like robot, and a monster-type creature in episode 6.
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Other than kids poking fun and taunting each other, some instances of bullying, and a bit of potty humor, the show keeps it clean.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
No drinking or drugs, but two characters do experience a trippy sugar rush after escaping a monster by eating their way through cotton candy restraints.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Netflix's The Last Bus is a British sci-fi adventure comedy series that serves up a cautionary tale about things that can go wrong if we rely too heavily on technology. When a robot apocalypse zaps away the rest of humanity, a group of mismatched teens become the unlikely heroes of this action-packed 10-episode series. The group evolves into a tight friend group and deals with challenges by being kind, open, and supporting each other. Kids from all walks of life encourage each other and talk about their feelings. A Black girl is one of the strongest characters. While cool robot fights, big explosions, and potty humor may draw older kids in, these scenes are too scary for younger viewers. Optimistic and heartfelt, and filled with comedy and adventure, the show gives off a strong Stranger Things vibe that will undoubtedly hold the attention of older kids and parents alike.
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The Last Bus
Based on 4 parent reviews
A Perfect series for the family to watch together!
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What's the Story?
THE LAST BUS centers around a mismatched assortment of school kids who band together to survive a robot apocalypse and set out to save the world. The series opens as a group of high school students travel to the launch event for a new class of robot designed to clear up the environment. Excited about the prospects of new tech and not realizing what's about to happen, 12-year-old child prodigy Nas (Moosa Mostafa) unknowingly declares that "after today's trip the world may never be the same again." At the launch event, tech billionaire Dalton Monkhouse (Robert Sheehan) introduces AI-powered genie orbs (drones), and everyone gets vaporized by his laser-shooting and highly intelligent drones, except for an unsuspecting group of kids who manage to escape the carnage and make their way back to their rackety old school bus. And here's where the true mayhem begins: Heading home in search of answers, they're met by a mysteriously empty world. Their families gone, and realizing they're the sole survivors of a robot apocalypse that has decimated humanity, the whip-smart kids band together to fight for survival. They venture off to find answers (and their families) as they battle the new machine intelligence that has taken over the world as we know it.
Is It Any Good?
This series plays out as a thought-provoking, visually appealing eco-fable with strong messages about the ways in which a younger generation must make different choices from the generation which preceded it. A great plot and strong performances from the kid cast make The Last Bus shamelessly enjoyable to watch. Fears of the world coming to an end are countered by the warmth of true friendships. While parents and kids alike may enjoy laughing through the mishaps the kid-centered cast encounters, some action-paced scenes will be too scary for younger viewers. There are plenty of laughable moments but also instances of intense peril as the kid protagonists band together to ultimately survive. Kids will catch on to the show's cautionary reminder to take care of our environment, and viewers may walk away from this binge-worthy series with a new understanding of the consequences we may face when we rely too heavily on tech. The open-ended conclusion will leave viewers at the edge of their seats awaiting season two.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the use of technology in The Last Bus. How can technology bring value to our lives? How can technology harm us?
Take this opportunity to talk to kids about what it means to be a good citizen, including what it means to be a good digital citizen. How can we all contribute to building a better world? What personal changes would you consider making to help our planet? What about a digital world? How could we build a safer digital space?
How do the characters demonstrate curiosity, courage, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?
- Premiere date: April 1, 2022
- Cast: Phoebe de Silva
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Courage, Curiosity, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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