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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The New Legends of Monkey is a fantasy adventure about a group of friends on a heroic quest. The cast is multicultural, and a powerful and noble young woman is the main character (gender-flipped from the original 1970s Japanese show on which this one is based). Violence is mild, but frequent: Expect choreographed martial arts battles on each episode, some with weapons like swords or batons or with characters using supernatural powers like lightning bolts that shoot from their fingers. People are sometimes hit and then fall down and lie still; no blood or gore is shown. At least one death takes place on-screen, but the injuries that caused it are not seen. Sexual content is relegated to flirting and the occasional quick kiss; there's no cursing (except for a literal mention of "hells"), but rivals frequently exchange arcane insults like this one from the Monkey King: "You snot-knuckled leather head." Characters drink ale at a tavern; no one acts drunk.
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What's the story?
Based on a 1970s Japanese show that was popular with kids in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, THE NEW LEGENDS OF MONKEY follows the adventures of noble Tripitaka (Luciane Buchanan), a young warrior/scholar who awakens the legendary Monkey King (Chai Hansen) from a centuries-long imprisonment. Together with their faithful companions Pigsy (Josh Thomson) and Sandy (Emilie Cocquerel), they embark on a quest to recover their people's sacred scrolls, return them to their mountain home, and cast off the demons that have enslaved their land.
Is it any good?
Kids love a dark (but not scary!) mystery, and this cheerful, goofy show fits the bill, with its easy-to-grasp premise, relatable characters, and supernatural action. The original Japanese show, known as Monkey or Monkey Magic in its dubbed-in-English form, was a cult hit for kids overseas in the late '70s and early '80s, and this remake is timed just right for nostalgia-watching, since these kids now have kids of their own. The New Legends of Monkey is pitched right, too, with enough adventure to keep kids interested, and hammy, campy humor that'll please parents.
In fact, the whole enterprise has the vibe of vintage sword-and-sorcery shows like Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, but aimed at younger viewers. Most episodes have messages that seem tailor-made for tweens: Follow your heart but use your head, stay true to yourself, hope must never die, etc. The show's not-too-scary scene-stealing villains are given to flowery speeches, eye-popping outfits, and pretty wimpy villainy. And Tripitaka's group of four quest buddies is sweet and supportive through every adventure. If you're up for a fantasy epic you can watch with your second-grader, give this one a try.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reboots and retellings. Have you watched episodes of the 1970s show Monkey? Do you think a revisit was necessary? Why, or why not?
Families can talk about shows like The New Legends of Monkey that revolve around legends. What is a legend? Why are many legends set in foreign lands? What does that say about the way this show's audience looks at people from another time and culture?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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