Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Annedroids

Annedroids

Spring 2015 Television
Ages: 4 - 7 yrs.
Producer: Amazon Studios
Rating: TV G
Review:

Amazon Studios presents Annedroids, a half-hour program for elementary-aged children, available through Amazon.com's Instant Video services.

For those who lament a lack of female role models in the world of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, make way for 11-year old Anne, a budding scientist whose tinkering produces a few robot pals. This program blends live action with top-notch CGI animation, resulting in stories that are supported by exceptional art direction without being overshadowed by it.

In the series opener, "New Pals," Anne meets her new neighbor Nick, a bright kid who stumbles into Anne's backyard lab and discovers her secret experiments. Androids PAL, EYES, and HANDS are still in their early stages of development and after some initial hesitation, Anne teams up with Nick, and another neighbor named Shania, to work out the robots' kinks - which, by the way, lead to some amusing problems that are the staple of situation comedies. Solving these problems calls for scientific reasoning and teamwork and to the program's great credit, they use real-life STEM strategies to solve their sci-fantasy situations. In "New Pals," the 'tweens consider electricity from lightning as a power source. In "Pal n' Go Seek", they analyze animal behavior to find the robots when a game of hide-and-seek gets out of hand. And in "Junkyard Sleepover," they learn about the science behind a lunar eclipse.

The kid cast does an impressive job of interacting with the show's CGI creations. Anne, in particular, is a great female role model, especially because the script never makes a big deal out of the fact that she is, in fact, a girl. She's a normal, smart, strong 'tween girl who just happens to also be a STEM-lovin' inventor who turned a junkyard full of spare parts into amazing androids. That positive is tempered a bit by the Shania character, who's drawn as a cartoonishly goofy girly-girl; and far too often it is the male character Nick who comes to the rescue and makes the STEM suggestion that solves Anne's engineering problem.

Still, Annedroids has a great focus on educational concepts while also blending in nice messages about collaborating, friendship, and family relationships. Stories are interesting without being overly complex for a young audience, and the scripts do an impressive job of working scientific terms and definitions into the dialogue while still sounding natural and entertaining. It all adds up to an inventive and entertaining half-hour that's sure to be appreciated by creative kids.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
Amazon Studios
http://amazon.com

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