TV Review: 'House of Anubis'

Filed under: TV



Rated ON for Ages 8 and Up

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mystery series offers a tween-friendly package of suspense and drama with little worry about its content. The teens are good models of teamwork and respect, and their experiences with crushes, love triangles, and friendship struggles have some positive messages for tweens. There is a strong tie-in to the show's website, so it's a good idea to remind kids about your rules for Internet use before giving them the go-ahead.

The good stuff

  • Educational value: The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
  • Messages: The show has empowering messages about the strength of teamwork and the sense of accomplishment to be found in seeing a challenge through to its end. The teens must use a variety of problem-solving tactics to unravel the mysterious clues they're given. The show has a multicultural cast and looks favorably on teens with its mostly amiable characters. The downside is that the show's plot twists mean that it's not always easy to tell who's being honest and sincere.
  • Role models: Most teens display positive qualities like respect, responsibility, dependability, and an insatiable curiosity that keeps their interest in the mysteries. At least one adult character is said to be a villain.

What to watch out for

  • Violence & scariness: No violence, but the story hinges on mysterious happenings and the unsolved disappearance of a teen. Tension runs high when spooky things happen (writing appears on walls, objects are knocked over by an unseen force, etc.).
  • Sexy stuff: Teen crushes include some kissing and hand-holding, but overall the show puts these relationships in a positive light. There's no giddiness or suggestive content, but rather a mature approach to dating from teens who care about and respect each other.
  • Language: Not an issue.
  • Consumerism: The show is linked to a website that allows viewers to try to solve the story's mysteries and offers additional clues that accompany those they see in each episode.
  • Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Not an issue.
What's the Story?

"House of Anubis" is a teen drama that follows the mysterious happenings in a dormitory at a British boarding school. The story starts with the arrival of an American student, Nina (Nathalia Ramos), and the simultaneous disappearance of Joy (Klariza Clayton). Joy's best friend, Patricia (Jade Ramsey), is suspicious of the newcomer, but Nina makes a fast friend of the studious Fabian (Brad Kavanagh). Joy's disappearance also corresponds with eerie and unexplained events throughout the house, and a handful of students set out to find out what's behind them. Meanwhile, Nina's new acquaintance with an elderly woman named Sarah (Rita Davies), who lived in the House of Anubis when she was young, may hold the key to unraveling all of the mysteries.

Is It Any Good?

"House of Anubis" has a lot to offer the tween set, from age-appropriate chills to some positive models in the teen characters. The show is a good stepping stone to scarier mysteries for kids who are new to this kind of content, as its light-fare suspense isn't likely to really scare viewers of this age. As for the teens themselves, they're a pretty likable bunch, and they navigate the choppy waters of love triangles and friendship woes with a fair amount of grace.

Tweens who do tune in may be tempted by plugs for them to visit the show's website to play games, read more about the show, and use clues from each episode to solve mysteries on the site. Parents can use this opportunity to talk to their kids about Internet safety and to reiterate their rules about Internet use.

This review was written by Emily Ashby.

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