Zak Storm

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Zak Storm TV Poster Image
Animated hero's journey has rude language, lots of violence.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Zak lives in an almost entirely all-male world with supernatural powers making him physically invulnerable and cohorts who keep telling him how special he is. He is frequently attacked by easily identifiable and irredeemably evil villains as he attempts a great feat that is said to be very courageous. It's as if toxic masculinity had a blueprint. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zak is presented as a heroic figure and he is brave (if frequently foolhardy), but he wins the day by force, not by reason or other methods. Parents may wish to point out that heroes can lead by example or by inspiring others, rather than by using violence. There is only one token female character on the show, though a woman voices another main character who is explicitly referred to as male. 

Violence & Scariness

Lots of cartoonish violence, with an unrealistic lack of injuries: A massive saw-toothed sea creature flings Zak out of the water, flipping him through the air; he lands on his feet on a surfboard. Big bad Dr. Skullivar commands an army of skeleton creatures that use futuristic laser guns; Zak seems able to dodge their streams easily. Zak's signature weaponry, a talking sword with magical powers and magical armor, allows him to win most of his frequent battles. 

Sexy Stuff

Calabrass uses some (curious, mild) innuendo: "Don't stand there with your mouth gaping like a Latin lover." 

Language

No cursing, but some rude language. "Fart attack," says Clovis, blanketing Goldenbones with green fog. "A blast from the past," says Zak. Villains and heroes also trade insults frequently, with "good" characters allowed more cutting insults than the villains: "numbskull," says Clovis, later calling Goldenbones "mean and ugly," while Zak calls Goldenbones a "bag of bones." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zak Storm is about a teen boy who is accidentally hurled into a supernatural realm where he's a hero facing villains with magical powers. Viewers' chief concern will be the frequency and intensity of the cartoonish violence. There are talking skeletons that shoot laser guns, gigantic sea creatures with sharp teeth, and a living skeleton three times the size of our hero who fights with a sharp metal hook. Zak rides on a surfboard that flies through the air, dodging laser streams with ease, never falling off -- or, if he does, he's caught safely and not injured. He also has a talking magic sword and invulnerable armor; they allow him to win almost every fight. There's no sex (though talking sword Calabrass does emit the occasional mild innuendo), no drinking, and no cursing. There is a fair amount of rude language, like when one character gives a villain a "fart attack." Zak and the other heroic characters also frequently insult the show's villain's, calling them "mean and ugly," "a bag of bones," and "numbskull." Zak himself is charming and rather humble (he calls himself a "surf rat and internet wannabe") but he also lives in an almost entirely male world where the other characters frequently tell him how special and brave he is, despite the fact that his powers are bestowed by a magical amulet, not arising from any special qualities Zak has. 

 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySucker p. December 16, 2017
Parent Written bySMNetwork May 22, 2018

Zag could do better.

I’m a big fan of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Chat Noir (another show made by the same company as this one), so I was excited to see what Zag would make nex... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written by02lovecat March 10, 2018

It's a really good show

I looked at some other reviews saying how Zak Storm is violent and has bad role models. I have to disagree, there's GOOD role models. Zak is daring and sma... Continue reading

What's the story?

All ZAK STORM (Michael Johnston) wanted to do was borrow a necklace from his dad to go surfing, because it'd look cool on his internet surfing video. But his dad's mysterious amulet opened a portal to the Bermuda Triangle, and now Zak's stuck there, sailing on the pirate ship Chaos, until he can find a way out. Worse, the evil Skullivar (Keith Silverstein) wants the amulet, and he commands an army of talking skeletons who are after Zak and his crew. Legend says that a hero will come to unite the seven seas and open the Bermuda Triangle. But until then, it's Zak and the Chaos crew, boldly sailing straight toward adventure. 

Is it any good?

The gadgetry is cool, the characters relatable and interesting, the animation zesty -- but parents won't appreciate the violence, weapons, or language. Zak Storm reads as something of a throwback -- the same sort of swords, sorcery, magic, and supernatural villains that parents might remember from cartoons of the '80s like He-Man and Thundercats. Unfortunately, the levels of violence are also undiminished from that era, with Zak wielding a magical weapon and attacked by faceless henchmen who are easily knocked over yet always spring back up for the next battle, and shoot lazy laser bullets that Zak dodges on a surfboard, flinging quips over his shoulder. 

The real problem is that Zak is just a regular teen, yet he's constantly told by the other characters that he's special. What's a young viewer to make of this? That heroic qualities are something you're born with, something innate you either have or don't have, not something you can develop? Other messages parents would probably prefer kids not to absorb: that battles are "adventures," that might makes right, and that villains are easy to spot and fun to spar with. For these reasons, even though young kids will be attracted to Zak's derring-do and cool sword/armor/ship, parents may want to watch first to make sure this series is right for their family. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so many animated series take place in worlds with magic. Why is this an appealing setting for cartoons? Why don't more live-action shows take place in magical worlds? 

  • Zak has a lot of confidence in himself. Can you name times in Zak Storm when he displayed confidence? Does his confidence ever lead him into tricky situations? 

  • How many female characters are on this show? How many characters appear to be people of color? Is it important that cartoons show diversity? Does it matter? Do you notice, or care, if the characters on the shows you watch are diverse? 

TV details

For kids who love action

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