Marketing tie-ins overwhelm in violent franchise reboot.
“Bakugan: Battle Planet” marks the reboot of the Bakugan franchise and opens with the discovery of the titular alien beings by three young friends. As the kids learn to work with their Bakugans, they develop improved teamwork and the ability to trust each other in battle. Bakugan clashes are intense and visually jarring, with oversize monsters crashing into one another, explosions erupting and the animation shaking on the screen. There is some bullying and verbal threats issued toward the main characters, and all of the conflict resolution happens by force among the Bakugans. This series is part of an extensive franchise that includes action figures, games and other merchandise geared toward kids. (Half-hour episodes.)
Saturdays at 7 a.m. on Cartoon Network. Also available via the channel’s streaming service.
Bizarre singing contest is surprisingly fun.
“The Masked Singer” is a family-friendly singing competition that focuses more on having fun than it does on winning. Contestants may pretend to be tough for a moment, and the popular songs performed, some of which are classics, have mildly suggestive lyrics. Words like “b----” are intermittently heard, too. Younger kids will probably not be able to identify many of these celebrity singers but still might like playing along. (One-hour episodes.)
Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox. Also available via Hulu streaming.
Aliens of all kinds in worthy update of ’90s cult fave.
“Roswell, New Mexico” is a show about aliens (both political and from outer space) living in the town famous for a reputed 1947 UFO crash. Most content is mild and suitable for young teens and tweens: violence is soft-pedaled, like in a scene in the pilot in which a young woman is victimized by a drive-by shooting and instantly healed by otherworldly means; we see blood on her clothes, but no gore. A character works in a bar where they drink shots, cocktails and beer; a character refers to being “tipsy” and another talks about having “weed” in his trailer. Language includes “a--,” “b----,” “hell” and can have an ethnic slant. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, romantic triangles and the occasional scene, like one in the pilot, in which a woman is shown straddling a man, both in underwear, while he wears a blindfold and she mentions that he promised to “obey” her “all night.” (One-hour episodes.)
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on CW. Also available via the channel’s streaming service.
Breezy tale of Nigerian woman in corporate “man’s world.”
“Lionheart” is a Nigerian comedy directed by and starring Genevieve Nnaji, one of the country’s most famous film stars. Part in English, part in Igbo with subtitles, it tells the familiar story of a woman bucking the male-dominated corporate world, but in a highly original take, it’s set in a modern African city. The importance of family, integrity and concern for others are all at the heart of the movie’s story. Subject matter and themes may have little interest for most kids, but teens should find the colorful, cosmopolitan female-power tale illuminating and fun. One punch is thrown; the word “s---” is heard twice; and lecherous men make a couple of passes at the female lead — which she fields with grace. Note: Nigeria has a flourishing film industry, sometimes referred to as “Nollywood.” This is Nnaji’s directorial debut. (94 minutes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
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