TV Review: 'Supah Ninjas'
Filed under: TV
Rated ON for Ages 6 and Up
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show's high-flying martial-arts action is sure to be a hit with boys in particular. Violence is kept to a minimum, as all of the physical exchanges are obviously choreographed and never lead to injuries. The acting is a little cheesy, and the premise is hokey, but it will find a niche among 6- to 8-year-olds who aren't yet aware of these pitfalls. On the plus side, there are some sweet messages about finding inner strength and relying on friends, and there's something to be said for the show's references to the fact that heroes can be found in unlikely places.
The good stuff
Educational value: The show intends to entertain rather than to educate, but viewers are exposed to some traditional martial arts.
Messages: This show celebrates friendship, determination, and inner strength, demonstrating how each of these qualities plays a role in the characters' becoming ninjas. The heroes must learn to work together to defeat their enemies.
Role models: Mike, Owen, and Amanda accept the duty of being nameless heroes, saving people from harm without receiving recognition for their work. They work hard at perfecting their ninja skills and at working as a team. Amanda is a strong female character who goes against the social flow and follows her heart into her friendship with Mike and Owen.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: The story centers on two teens who use their ninja skills to take down criminals in their town, so every episode has plenty of martial arts-style fighting and use of traditional weapons like nunchucks. Injuries are rare.
Sexy stuff: Very mild occasional references like a teen teasing his friends about having "special magazines" hidden under his bed, and references to Mike's crush on Amanda.
Language: No cursing, but some marginal language like "stupid."
Consumerism: Not an issue.
Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Not an issue.
What's the Story?
Life will never be the same for Mike Fukanaga (Ryan Potter) after a mysterious letter from his deceased grandfather leads him to a secret facility and brings him face to face with a hologram of his granddad (George Takei), who tells him that he's descended from a line of powerful ninjas. Suddenly he and his best friends, Owen (Carlos Knight) and Amanda (Gracie Dzienny), are immersed in training and learning the ways of the ninja, and when trouble calls in their town, they're always poised to leap into action and save the day.
Is It Any Good?
"Supah Ninjas" is a fast-paced show that inspires viewers to believe in the existence of heroes in the most unlikely places. Just as class outcast Mike discovers the inner strength he needs to assume his new role, parents can help kids begin to understand their own personal talents and how those gifts can be used to help others. Another bonus to the series is the well-rounded female lead role of Amanda, who's said to be a popularity queen but who follows her own heart and chooses to be friends with social fringe dwellers Mike and Owen.
Although the plot is rooted in martial arts and physical exchanges between the heroes and a rotating cast of bad guys, there's little to fear from this content having an adverse effect on its viewers. Even kids will be able to see that these battles are in fact a series of choreographed moves from truly skilled actors, and the fact that no one is ever worse for the wear greatly helps tone down the impact of the violence. The show isn't likely to strike a chord with more worldly tweens, who may be turned off by the fairly cheesy acting.
Reviewed by Emily Ashby
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.