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 Sparticle Mystery is a British kids' fantasy series depicting a world without adults, thanks to a science experiment gone wrong. Kids are shown having to survive on their own -- tracking down places to stay, food to eat, and in some cases, necessary medicine (a character is diabetic, another has cerebral palsy). Different "tribes" of kids compete for resources, which means there is some conflict at times, but the violence is very mild.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After a science experiment called THE SPARTICLE PROJECT goes terribly wrong, everyone over the age of 15 is suddenly zapped into a parallel dimension, leaving a world full of befuddled children with no supervision whatsoever. Makeshift "tribes" soon begin forming, as competition increases for food, lodging, and other important resources. Some kids are just out to wreak havoc in their new reality of no bedtime, no school, and no rules -- supermarkets and candy shops get raided, and cars are stolen -- but the main protagonists are focused on trying to keep each other safe as they try to figure out exactly what happened to all the adults, and how to bring them back from wherever they've disappeared to. This doesn't mean there isn't infighting, and the kids encounter plenty of obstacles on their quest, but the show highlights how much human beings really need one another -- and what they can accomplish when they work as a team.
Is it any good?
This good-natured and empowering science-fiction drama for kids is a solid whole-family viewing option. Though the characters are stuck dealing with a doomsday-type scenario where they must learn to survive and thrive after all the grown-ups vanish to another dimension, it's not particularly scary -- the focus is more on adventure and mystery. These kids miss their parents for sure, but they waste no time banding together and getting to the bottom of the grown-ups' disappearance. None of the kids are perfect, but they're great role models nonetheless, who use intelligence and problem-solving to get by instead of brutality and violence.
The cast is diverse, and most are new to the profession, which makes them seem more like real-life, relatable kids. In addition to being racially and gender-diverse, the cast also includes differently abled actors and doesn't treat them as "less than" -- they're right there in the mix with the other kids, working for survival. Yes, the production values are kid show-level cheesy, and the acting can be a bit stilted at times, but The Sparticle Mystery is such a lively and well-intentioned show that it really doesn't matter.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which tribe they'd want to join if they were part of The Sparticle Mystery world. How would you contribute to your tribe's well-being and safety? What kind of skills do you think you might pick up in this kind of world, and what would be the hardest part of living without grown-ups?
The Sparticle Mystery is a show about parallel universes. Do you think these could really exist? If so, would you want to visit them?
- Premiere date: February 14, 2011
- Cast: Karim Zeroual, Emily Sanderson, Abbie Hayes, Grace Mandeville
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Science and Nature
- TV rating: TV-Y7-FV
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: September 26, 2020
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