Unnatural History

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Unnatural History TV Poster Image
Fast-paced action series is sure to please tweens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 30 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show explores themes like friendship, dependability, teamwork, and a sense of duty. Henry and his friends always strive for the common good and usually shrug off notoriety or reward for doing what they do. The show increases awareness of the world’s diversity with clips of Henry in different parts of the globe, referencing social and environmental differences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Henry and his friends always strive to do the right thing, like handing over treasure they uncover to its rightful owner. They break plenty of rules in their mystery solving, but they’re never out to hurt anyone. Henry’s uncle is tough but fair, demanding that the teens fulfill their potential but willing to admit when he’s been wrong.

Violence

Action and chase scenes often include fistfights, martial arts-style exchanges, and some weapons. In one scene, for example, three masked avengers shoot at a couple of teens. In another, a man is killed by a poison dart. There are also some spooky scenes with ghosts and the like.

Sex
Language

Rare use of words like “butt.”

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there’s a fair amount of action violence in this fast-paced series about teen super sleuths. Most of it is in the form of fistfights and martial arts-style battles, but there's also some gunplay and a few deadly uses of less familiar weapons like blow darts. Some younger kids might be frightened by spooky scenes of ghosts, skeletons, and hallucinations as well. But for most tweens and teens, the show is a wild ride full of plot twists and turns that should keep them on the edge of their seats.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAl Jackson April 15, 2012

This show is horrible!

This show doesn't deserve 4 stars at all.It deserves a 1.This show is horribly boring.
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byshanghaiang September 28, 2010
Teen, 15 years old Written byladiesnotgurls June 7, 2012

Best show of all time!

The best show I have ever seen. The show teaches lessons like, forgiveness, the value of hard work, never dumb yourself down to get guys attention, being honest... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byalyssaiceflower January 21, 2012

What's the story?

Since Henry Griffin (Kevin G. Schmidt) has spent his entire life globetrotting with his parents, their decision to send him to live with family in Washington, D.C., doesn’t sit well with his adventurous spirit. Little does he know that life in a prestigious American high school can be just as dangerous as living in the wilds of New Guinea -- Henry's worries ultimately prove unfounded, since mystery and adventure seem to follow him wherever he goes. Along with his cousin, Jasper (Jordan Gavaris), and their brainy classmate, Maggie (Italia Ricci), Henry puts his physical prowess and powerful problem-solving skills to work uncovering clues to the mysteries around him.

Is it any good?

Impetuous Henry is a hero for any tween who longs for adventure to fall into his lap so he can tackle it head-on. When a problem presents itself, Henry leaps (often literally) into action to solve it, aided by his trusty sidekicks -- who bring their own expertise to the table. The historical nature of the show's mysteries makes them appealing to a range of ages, and parents might find themselves watching along with their tweens to see what sticky situation Henry, Jasper, and Maggie manage to resolve each week.

UNNATURAL HISTORY is a satisfying blend of Indiana Jones and Harry Potter, and there’s no question that Cartoon Network’s decision to diversify by adding this live-action mystery to its line-up was a smart one. The only hiccup is the violent exchanges -- sometimes involving guns and other deadly weapons -- between the teens and their nemeses, so younger kids shouldn’t tune in. But for tweens and up, Henry and his pals have plenty to offer, including strong messages about friendship and dependability.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role that action violence plays in the show. Does it have a different impact because it's live action than it would if the show was animated? Why or why not?

  • What does the show have to say about friendship? How does friendship develop among the three teens as the series goes on? Does their experience reflect your own? How does it differ? How has technology changed how friends interact?

  • How does this show compare to other action-centric movies and TV series? How can you tell that this one is intended for younger viewers? Kids: Do you think that the shows intended for your age group are really appropriate for you? Why or why not?

  • Does world travel appeal to you? Where are some of the places you’d like to go? Why? How does experiencing other cultures change your impression of the world?

TV details

For kids who love adventure

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