A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last Kids on Earth is an animated series about a group of teenagers who are the only humans to survive the zombie and monster apocalypse. The main characters are without their parents and are fighting to survive, but the show still has all the humor and heart you would expect for something aimed at tweens. The characters use violence to fight zombies and monsters, but it's not gratuitous or gory. There are some suspenseful moments, but the scariness is balanced by humor. The kids model the emotional issues real kids of this age go through (peer pressure, fitting in, being a good friend), and sometimes they argue and fight. Since there are no adults, the kids do somewhat naughty things, like stealing items from abandoned stores and eating all the junk food they want.
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What's the story?
THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH is based on the bestselling graphic novel series of the same name. It's the monster apocalypse, and the only people left on earth are four 13-year-olds. They're somewhat of a motley crew. Main character Jack is an enthusiastic, slightly awkward video game enthusiast. The rest of the team is rounded out by Jack's nerdy scientist best friend, Quint; brave ex-newspaper editor June, and reformed school bully Dirk. As the characters say, "It's the end of the world. No rules. No bedtimes."
The kids live together in a tree house and navigate typical middle school issues like disagreements with friends, crushes, and trying to fit in. They're also trying to slay the monsters that have taken over the world, and they go on heroic adventures to fight them. Since no grown-ups survived the apocalypse, they live a version of every kid's fantasy, with as much video games and junk food as they want. Celebrity guests like Mark Hamill and Rosario Dawson voice some of the monster characters.
Is it any good?
This series does a great job of balancing pure fun with substance. Kids will like the realistic and likable characters who deal with real tween problems while trying to survive the apocalypse. There is a high sense of adventure as the kids fight monsters, but The Last Kids on Earth never feels too scary. Tense moments are diffused with funny asides. Three of the four main characters are smart and resourceful, and the fourth (a reformed school bully) is used as a foil. These kids are fully developed characters who show real emotions. Kids who like science fiction and relatable tween characters like those in Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Raina Telgemeier's books will like this show. Though the main cast is mostly boys, June is a fantastic female lead many girls will identify with.
Parents should be aware that there are some more mature elements to this show. Because the kids battle monsters and zombies, they use physical force and weapons, though the violence isn't gratuitous or gory, and it's always against fantastical monsters. Since there are no adults to moderate their behavior, the kids are somewhat naughty at times. They backtalk to each other, eat junk food, and steal things from abandoned stores. The series makes it clear that the kids are living in abnormal end-of-the-world circumstances, and that these reckless behaviors are outside the norm.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it would be like if they were the only humans left on earth. How would they find food? Where would they live? What fun stuff would they do if there were no grown-ups around?
Jack, June, Quint, and Dirk are all very different. Do you have friends who are different from you? How do you get along?
The kids have to fight the monsters and use weapons in The Last Kids on Earth. Is it ever OK to use violence and weapons? What are some other things you could do to defeat an opponent?
Is there anything about this show that scares you? Why does it seem scary to you?
- Premiere date: September 17, 2019
- Cast: Nick Wolfhard, Montse Hernandez, Garland Whitt, Charles Demers, Keith David, Mark Hamill, Catherine O'Hara, Bruce Campbell, Rosario Dawson
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Action
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- TV rating: TV-Y7-FV
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: April 7, 2021
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