Muppets Now (TV-PG)

Streaming

Age 8+

Light, family-friendly return is familiar yet fresh.

Muppets Now” is a family-friendly series about the Muppets trying to put together their own streaming series. Composed of different segments, such as Lifesty (sorry, Lifestyle) with Miss Piggy, a cooking show with the Swedish Chef, and many more, the show features the Muppet crew up to its usual high jinks, with a modern twist. Piggy wants to be an influencer, Scooter is overwhelmed with video chats and Slack-type messages, and celebs of the day including RuPaul join the fun. Like much Muppet fare, it’s slightly edgy with some very mild innuendo (a Muppet fan tells RuPaul he “just wants to touch him”) and cartoonish violence in the form of pratfalls. The series is fast-paced, light, and fun; families who are Muppet fans will be pleased to see this return to form for their favorite gang of now media-savvy puppet friends.
(Six 30-minute episodes)

Available on Disney+.

Fearless (TV-Y7)

Streaming

Age 8+

Animated adventure has diverse cast, action and humor.

Fearless” is an‌ ‌animated‌ ‌action‌ ‌film‌ ‌about‌ ‌criminal‌ ‌masterminds, space‌ ‌babies‌ ‌with‌ ‌superpowers ‌and‌ ‌“real‌ ‌world”‌ ‌teens‌ ‌who‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌put‌ ‌down‌ ‌the‌ ‌video‌ ‌game‌ ‌to‌ ‌save‌ ‌the‌ ‌day. ‌The‌ ‌action‌ ‌can‌ ‌get‌ ‌fairly‌ ‌violent, but‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌animated‌ ‌and‌ ‌generally‌ ‌offset‌ ‌with‌ ‌humor. The‌ ‌likely-to-be-scariest‌ ‌moments‌ ‌are‌ ‌when‌ ‌the‌ ‌adorable‌ ‌babies‌ ‌find‌ ‌themselves‌ ‌in‌ ‌danger‌ — such as‌ ‌when‌ ‌they’re‌ ‌kidnapped‌ ‌repeatedly‌ ‌or‌ ‌when‌ ‌one‌ ‌is‌ ‌almost‌ ‌hit‌ ‌by‌ ‌a‌ ‌truck. Characters‌ ‌also‌ ‌fight‌ ‌with‌ ‌fire, lasers, stun‌ ‌guns, swords, spears, tanks, guns, cages, monsters, mazes and‌ ‌machines‌ ‌to‌ ‌transfer‌ ‌superpowers. Teens‌ ‌almost‌ ‌drive‌ ‌a‌ ‌motorcycle‌ ‌into‌ ‌oncoming‌ ‌traffic, take‌ ‌a‌ ‌death-defying‌ ‌jump‌ ‌off‌ ‌a‌ ‌cliff, and‌ ‌put‌ ‌their‌ ‌lives‌ ‌at‌ ‌risk‌ ‌fighting‌ ‌the‌ ‌bad‌ ‌guys. ‌ ‌But‌ ‌the‌ ‌film‌ ‌also‌ ‌has‌ ‌plenty‌ ‌of‌ ‌humor, including‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌characters’‌ ‌mutual‌ ‌taunts‌ ‌(some‌ — “chubby,” ‌ ‌“muffin‌ ‌top”‌ — target‌ ‌a‌ ‌creature’s‌ ‌weight). Angry‌ ‌name-calling‌ ‌includes‌ ‌“filth,” ‌ ‌“imbecile”‌ ‌and‌ ‌”you‌ ‌pile‌ ‌of‌ ‌worthless‌ ‌skin‌ ‌cells,” while‌ ‌a‌ ‌general‌ ‌uses‌ ‌swearing‌ ‌stand-ins‌ like‌ ‌“sweet‌ ‌God‌ ‌in‌ ‌heaven,” “mother‌ ‌of‌ ‌all‌ ‌things‌ ‌holy”‌ ‌and‌ ‌“poop‌ ‌just‌ ‌got‌ ‌real.” The‌ ‌diverse‌ ‌group‌ ‌of‌ ‌characters‌ ‌demonstrate‌ ‌courage‌ ‌and‌ ‌perseverance, and‌ ‌there’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌clear‌ ‌message‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌idea‌ ‌that‌ ‌it’s‌ ‌not‌ ‌healthy‌ ‌to‌ ‌try‌ ‌to‌ ‌avoid‌ ‌real‌ ‌life‌ ‌by‌ ‌escaping‌ ‌into‌ ‌virtual‌ ‌reality. ‌ (91 minutes)

Available on Netflix.

We Are the Radical Monarchs (Unrated)

Streaming

Age 9+

Doc about girls’ social justice troop inspires all ages.

We Are the Radical Monarchs” is a documentary about kid activists focusing on social justice in Oakland, Calif. Potentially upsetting news stories/current events are discussed throughout, and police brutality against Black people is a recurring theme. There’s an animation of a police officer pointing a gun at a Black man. There are sound clips from the news talking about the Orlando gay nightclub shooting. The girls meet a transgender person who talks about being afraid to walk in public, and Latina girls talk about the fear of having family members be deported. The word “f---” is seen once, briefly, written down, and there’s a bit of additional strong language. While the kids take action and are hopeful about making change, the documentary is frank about the tough realities of life for underrepresented people in the United States.
(82 minutes)

Available on pbs.org.

An American Pickle
(PG-13)

Streaming

Age 13+

Rogen’s double performance saves low-key comedy.

An American Pickle” is fish-out-of-water/family-feud comedy starring Seth Rogen in two roles: Herschel, a man from 1919 who wakes up in the present day, and Ben, his great-grandson. There’s a bit of blood (mostly in the 1919 sequences, as Cossacks attack), and characters bash rats with a club and bite the head off a fish. There’s also some punching and fighting, and death is discussed. Two characters fall in love and get married, but sex isn’t an issue. Language includes a few uses of “s---” and some ethnic slurs that are played for laughs: “filthy Jews,” etc. It’s a pretty one-track movie, but Rogen’s performance and a smattering of giggles hold it together.
(90 minutes)

Available on HBO Max.

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