Ready Jet Go!Spring 2017 Television
Ready Jet Go! is a CGI-animated series that premiered on PBS Kids in early 2016. The educational content focuses on earth science and astronomy but it does so with a twist. Neighbors Sean and Sydney are science enthusiasts. Sean's parents work at a space center and Sydney is the kind of kid who'd clean up on any science quiz show. As luck would have it, their new neighbor just happens to be an alien from a planet called Borton 7. His name is Jet Propulsion and he and his family are spending time on earth to study human customs. That makes Jet the perfect guide for tours around the solar system.
According to the PBS website, Ready Jet Go! is for viewers ages 3 - 8 and it is intended to be their "first introduction to space, earth science, and technology." Each half-hour episode offers two stories, separated by an informative live-action segment hosted by Dr. Amy Mainzer. These segments are especially interesting and some parents may recognize this accomplished scientist from her appearances on the History Channel series The Universe, or the 2016 documentary For the Love of Spock, about the life of Leonard Nemoy.
Ready Jet Go! plotlines aren't overly complicated. Usually, the kids observe a scientific principle and their search for an answer prompts further out-of-this-world exploration. In "Just the Right Distance from the Sun," the friends get overheated while playing outside on a sunny day, leading them to a discussion about the sun. Jet Propulsion and his mom. Celery, take them on an interstellar field trip (in the family car that morphs into a spacecraft) to discover which factors are required for conditions to sustain life on a planet. They fly by several planets in the solar system and Jet, his mom, and an informative computer offer up a flurry of science facts. In "Solar Power Rover," Sean takes Jet to meet his "pet," a Mars Robot Rover at the space center where his parents work. The rover appears to be sluggish and it takes some scientific thinking to figure out that the rover requires solar power to operate, motivating a discussion about how scientists capture and store energy from the sun and use it on earth and for space missions. And, in "Ice Moon Enceladus," a sunny day ruins Sean's efforts to sell snow-cones so Jet suggests a trip to a place where ice is plentiful: Saturn's ice moon Enceladus. That trip comes complete with explanations of ice volcanoes and the resulting water vapor that supplies most of the material making up one of Saturn's rings. In the other story in that episode, "What Goes Up," gravity is explored as Jet tries to build and test a flying saucer.
Although the vocabulary and science explanations may be beyond the scope of the youngest viewers, the premise, characters, interesting art direction and upbeat action should hold their attention. Older kids are more likely to grasp the facts and even if they don't remember them all, Ready Jet Go! will at the very least inspire curiosity, and plenty of questions when they take the time to gaze up at the skies above them.