Excerpts from the no-longer-existent Whitsend.org feature called the Odyssey Times. Originally published around February of 2002.
Novacom Broadcasting’s spring season of programs premieres on local channel 25 this week. We reviewed three programs that are part of their “children’s line-up” which airs every weekday after school. Other shows are in the works and will be reviewed as they become available.
The Rebels Space Freighters fight the Evil Trojan Suppressors in “epic” battles for freedom. The good guys leader is Jonathan Dark, the only guy on the show who has only one head. The bad guys have two leaders: Collective Borg and Double Que, for whom the saying, “Two heads are better than one” takes on a personal meaning. Most of the show features the bad guys mercilessly attacking the good guys spaceships. All three episodes we previewed ended with the good guys re-routing power through a different system and managing to escape at the last minute.
With the highest budget of any program on Novacom’s schedule, this show features impressive visual effects during the space battles. Some would say that space battles are really all there is to the show, but since it’s mainly aimed at kids, that may be all it needs to be successful. Parents could be concerned about the violence on the show, although most of it is in the form of explosions.
The pilot episode for this show features a group of five preteen children who are taught kickboxing skills by their parents “just in case.” In no time at all, the kids are doing quite well at it and are actually better than their parents. One day, the families’ town is suddenly overrun by a group of seemingly nice door-to-door salespeople, who call for a town meeting.
Their opening speech begins, “Good day, everyone. We are a group of psychopathic terrorists who want nothing more than to enslave every man, woman, and child into our evil plot. We believe this will help the people of this town to become better individuals, not to mention make us the most powerful men in the world.” While most of the adults in the town seem charmed by the salespeople, the five kids see right through the thinly-veiled plot. They dub themselves the “Kick-Boxing Kids” and decide they have to free their town from the bondage of the salespeople. The biggest problem is that their parents don’t believe them, so they have to perform all their missions during times when their parents aren’t looking. Kids have tough lives these days.
While the stunts in this program are amazing, many parents have already complained about the level of violence in the show. The concern is greater because the kids in the show are responsible for most of fighting and many are concerned that kids will try to duplicate the action they see on the screen. Novacom hasn’t yet responded if it will change the show.
The final show we reviewed was probably the strangest. The premise of the program is that a dinosaur from prehistoric times suddenly appears in Roswell, New Mexico. Only two living things witness the dinosaur landing. They are a rock (who is very much alive) and a clown, named Boulder and Jolly. The two of them immediately realize that the dinosaur may have been sent to give them information about their enemy, Pop Drinking Can, who is intent on launching a conspiracy to make people forget about the prehistoric ages by poisoning their beverages.
This is only the first five minutes of the show, which gets much more complicated from there. Our main concern with this show is that it’s so complex that children will have a hard time following the plot (since our reviewers certainly couldn’t). Of course, the fact that there’s a dinosaur in the show will probably attract children no matter what.