Common Sense Media says

'60s' canine not-so-super hero hasn't aged well.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show's delineated gender roles are dated now. Ethnic stereotypes, particularly for Latinos, also in evidence.

Violence & scariness

This is a cartoon in the old-fashioned sense. Characters run one another off cliffs, shoot cannons at each other, kidnap each other, etc. Villains use weapons to threaten the hero or try to take over the city (although it's all pretty tongue in cheek).

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Exploding cigars, cigarettes smoked in front of the firing squad, etc.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that since this cartoon began life as a serial, sometimes episodes will conclude at the end of the half hour ... and sometimes they won't. And they're not necessarily being rerun in order. Young kids just don't get this, and they may be dismayed not to be able to "see what happens." What's more, the series is filled with every imaginable stereotype from the '60s, from helpless heroines to foreign baddies, as well as typical cartoon violence of the era (characters shoot cannons at each other, etc.).

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Proving that old TV shows never die, but instead live on forever as long as someone's willing to air them (or is producing a movie based on them...), UNDERDOG is still racing to the rescue on the airwaves. The '60s' not-so-super canine hero (voiced by Wally Cox) has a touch of Mighty Mouse in him -- and more than a little Superman -- but his rescues tend to leave chaos in their wake. As a superhero, he can't be bothered about such things, of course, but it's a fun twist that the show acknowledges them. Who ever saw anyone worrying about that wall Superman just took out?

Is it any good?


Underdog's chief charm is the sense that, unlike many superheroes, his regular persona ("Shoeshine Boy") seems to better represent the real him. The idea that, given the need, we could all rise to the occasion with a few superpowers has kept kids coming back. But these are the original Underdog cartoons -- serial storytelling, '60s' stereotypes, and all. The former is particularly frustrating, since it means that each episode starts with Underdog, then cuts to one or two other shorts featuring different characters (like Klondike Kat or Tennessee Tuxedo) before finishing with another Underdog -- which may or may not complete the story that began in the last installment. So kids may very well be left hanging and puzzled.

Because of that -- and because much of the show's humor depends on a solid knowledge of the genre being mocked (i.e. superhero movies) -- Underdog doesn't really work for young children. They may laugh when he flies into a wall, but they may just easily take his perils (and the trouble he has resolving them) too seriously and get worried when it all cuts off without a resolution. Many kids will prefer the short, more traditional cartoons that accompany Underdog, but there's no shortage of those elsewhere.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss what the show is parodying. What standard superhero clichés and devices are used here, and how? What could be added or changed to make the series stronger or funnier? Would you rather be Underdog, Superman, or The Tick? Families who see the live-action movie based on the cartoon might enjoy comparing the two, paying particular attention to how the story has been modernized.

TV details

Cast:Kenny Delmar, Norma MacMillan, Wally Cox
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Superheroes, Adventures
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD

This review of Underdog was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


I got this for my father for Christmas(He was a little kid when they made these, and he LOVED this show). I didn't think that it would be that good(my mother said it wasn't), but when I watched it I found out it was REALLY GREAT!!!!! Underdog is really funny and VERY original. Simon Barsinister's plan to "dry up all the water in the world" with his "big dipper" was HISTERICAL!!!!He apparently thought that he could enslave all of mankind because he had all the water in the world. I also find it funny that they always choose Underdog to gaurd huge amounts of gold,It's always "the largest shipment of gold ever made", and the gold always gets stolen, usually by Riff Raff. The shorts are also all very funny, particuarly Go-Go Gophers and Tooter Turtle. Shame be to anyone who finds this show violent or inapropriate! If you think THIS is violent, you should see shows kids are watching THESE DAYS(Pokemon, Yugi-Oh, Digimon, etc.)! THIS SHOW IS WONDERFUL!!! EVERYONE SHOULD WATCH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teen, 14 years old Written byThecoyote July 10, 2011

1960's craziness!!!

Underdog is really cool. The theme song is catchy and Barsinister's a great villian. The show protrays indians as savage troublemakers. One of the indians talks by speaking random sounds. There's violence involving guns and some characters smoke.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old June 6, 2011

Makes Underdog Look Bad

Man I actually hate this show alot! Why does everybody like this?It makes Underdog look bad. It's good that it was canceled. Meerdog, you need to shut up, you should have gave your dad a better DVD for christmas, that dvd is a total waste of money! I used to like it and I have a DVD but I want to sell it so bad. Just kill me now and get this crap out of my life! But the theme song is good
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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