What parents need to know
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.
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.
Families can talk 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?