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 Other Kingdom follows a fairy teen named Astral on her "other walk," a journey into the human world to experience life there. Predictably there are many funny firsts for her, including taking a selfie, going to school, and talking to the cute boy she likes. Astral is a wholly likable person, and her zest for life makes you want to root for her, but she's also naïve and sometimes falls prey to peers' manipulation as a result. She also does some of her own manipulation (albeit unintentionally) and interferes with friends' lives in the process. There's a lot of flirting among the teen characters, including a girl who's desperate for her classmate's attention. This show's strong messages about self-identity and friendship are a boon, but they're often muddled by a somewhat jaded presentation of the teen experience.
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What's the story?
THE OTHER KINGDOM centers on Astral (Esther Zynn), a fairy and heir apparent of the realm of Athenia, who gives up her wings to live among humans, or "others," as her kind call them. Posing as an exchange student, Astral lives with Devon (Taylor Adams) and attends school alongside him, adopting his longtime friend Morgan (Celina Martin) as her new bestie. She also harbors a not-so-secret crush on classmate Tristan (Callan Potter), whom she watched in her fairy form, and this gets the goat of his other admirer, Hailey (Josette Halpert). As she becomes more and more at home in the others' world, she comes closer to having to choose between her family and destiny in Athenia and this new life as a human.
Is it any good?
Anyone familiar with The Little Mermaid will note that this show's concept isn't exactly original, but there's always something endearing about a magical being's fish-out-of-water journey to the human world. Astral doesn't disappoint as an oddity among her new peers, and it's comical to watch her learn how to be a "normal" teen, all the while dogged by her diminutive but outspoken chaperone from home, Oswald (Jeff Douglas). What's less comical is how she uses her fairy powers to affect not only her experience but also her friends', forcing attraction where she deems it necessary and inciting amnesia to give her a do-over when she's taken a wrong step.
On the other hand, The Other Kingdom puts Astral in the middle of situations that may resonate with kids, including fitting in in a new place, coping with complex social relationships, and finding your unique identity. On these counts, Astral does well for viewers, and her experiences with her closest friends are heartening. Sadly, though, there's too much of the other stuff -- peer pressure, desperate romantic endeavors, and Astral's naïveté in particular -- for the show's positives to truly stand out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how friendship is presented in this story. Who among the characters proves herself to be a good friend? Are there some who use friendship as a tool of manipulation? Have you ever experienced this in your own life? How can you identify this kind of behavior, and how do you deal with it?
What benefits does Astral see in the human world? Would life be easier without the complexities of our relationships with other people? Based on your own experiences, would you choose to return home or stay among the others if you were her?
Kids: Do you like experiencing new things? In what ways are new experiences worrisome or frightening? How do you cope with these kinds of feelings?
Themes & Topics
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