KIDS FIRST! has endorsed 227 total TV titles

Below are up to 26 of them

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This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TO CATCH A MEMORY
TO CATCH A MEMORY - SIJIA WANG
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Description - Overcoming fear in the nick of time by catching a joyful memory from childhood.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The story captures a memory of childhood and that turns things around.

I really enjoyed this film. We watch as fear grips a young woman in the baseball dugout and her coach pushes her to get out there and "do it." A ball comes her way and she falls..... Falls farther into a dream of herself as a young girl. And then a small miracle happens and everything changes. Beautifully animated -- simple and straightforward. Terrific background music.

The film's message is a bout believing in yourself and allowing your life to come together as you wish.

I give To Catch A Memory 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The story captures a memory of childhood and that turns things around.

I really enjoyed this film. We watch as fear grips a young woman in the baseball dugout and her coach pushes her to get out there and "do it." A ball comes her way and she falls..... Falls farther into a dream of herself as a young girl. And then a small miracle happens and everything changes. Beautifully animated -- simple and straightforward. Terrific background music.

The film's message is a bout believing in yourself and allowing your life to come together as you wish.

I give To Catch A Memory 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW, SEASON TWO, THE
GREAT AMERICAN BAKING SHOW, SEASON TWO, THE - THE ROKU CHANNEL
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Roku Original The Great American Baking Show is the American version of the most beloved baking show on the planet, bringing together passionate, talented bakers from around the country to see who will be named America's Best Amateur Baker.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Watching nine contestants bake in a tent in the British countryside became an international pastime with the release of the Great British Baking Show. Season 2 of The Great American Baking Show is soon to arrive, in an attempt to capture the magic of its counterpart across the pond...and it succeeds beautifully. The Great American Baking Show is as fluffy and sweet as its bakers' treats, and it replicates the British show's format without feeling like a knock-off - though it is a bit corny at times.

The premise of the Great American Baking Show is simple: nine bakers from across the US, who each have expertise in different areas of baking, are assembled and brought to a white tent in the British countryside where they're tasked with making increasingly difficult items. Each episode deals with one type of baked goods -- week one is cake week, for example -- and the bakers face three challenges to test their creativity and their mastery of baking in a time crunch and without a formal recipe. Their baked goods are judged by renowned chefs Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, who winnow down the pool of bakers by eliminating one each episode and, in the end, crown one baker as the winner.

The Great American Baking Show Season 2 is, by leaps and bounds, superior to the most recent seasons of its British counterpart (and its first season, which had a tough run). That doesn't mean it doesn't have issues, but it's almost at the level of the first few seasons of the Great British Baking Show. The bakers are judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, both of whom lean into the characters they've carved out for themselves in the British version. Paul is the exacting master baker whose handshakes seem to be worth more than the lottery (and whose striking good looks are a source of near-constant discussion among the ladies). And Prue is the endearing British dame, providing periodic, measured compliments and pearl-clutching comments about calories. The show's hosts, comedian Zach Cherry and actress Ellie Kemper, have, essentially, one job: pull silly, cheesy stunts, motivate the bakers and mug for the camera while mournfully calling out time checks. In the first few episodes, they seem a bit awkward together, with some of their jokes working and others falling flat, but they soon find their beat. I did miss seeing Noel Fielding in the tent, but I will say that Cherry and Kemper's chats with the bakers are fun and help the show move along. The contestants are a sweet, supremely talented, but somewhat unremarkable batch, likely due to the editing which, as in last season, doesn't allow viewers to understand the bakers' back-stories very well. There are other rough moments in the editing of this show, like some jerky cutaways, shaky footage of bakers running from place to place and clearly artificial, over-the-top reactions to the technical bake judging. Also to be noted, the items on this list were present in the first season of the American show too, so perhaps it's an artistic choice. The actual content of the show is pleasant , though. The British version of the show has seen its challenges grow more and more wild over time, and the Great American Baking Show follows suit. I also think it was a smart move to make the show more "American" so that both viewers and bakers would have an easier time relating to the show. And, my final note -- I love how wholesome the energy in the tent is throughout the show. Even in the midst of heated competition, the bakers smile and encourage each other. It appears that the most kind cross-section of America got its own TV show, which is nice to see in this age of discord and infighting.

The Great American Baking Show promotes healthy competition, exploration, creativity and the enjoyment of simple joys in life like food.

Great American Baking Show: Season 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It will be available on The Roku Channel beginning May 24, 2024.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOME SWEET ROME!

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HOME SWEET ROME! - HBO MAX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Home Sweet Rome! is a coming-of-age comedy series about Lucy, a 13-year-old girl who moves from California to Rome with her father, an archaeologist, and stepmother, an Italian pop star. Lucy must adjust to her new city, school, and life with her famous stepmother, while also dealing with the challenges of being a 13-year-old girl and her best friend, Kyla, who is 6,000 miles away. The series features original music, relatable mishaps, heartwarming connections, and stunning Italian vistas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Home Sweet Rome! is an incredible TV series with some very important messages. It ties together a lot of different components that make the series unique.

The plot of this series is that of 13-year-old Lucy (Kensington Tallman) moves from the US to Rome because her father (Darrin Rose) marries an Italian pop star, Francesca (Eleonora Facchini). The series follows her life as she learns to live and go to school in Rome without knowing any Italian. Along the way she meets many good people and learns to appreciate the life she's been given.

There are many incredible parts of this series. One of the main ones is how very relatable it is to teens and tweens alike. Lucy is forced to move away from her home and her best friend, Kyla (Ava Ro). Her dad marries new woman and she doesn't want to forget her mom. A lot of teens and tweens have experienced similar events in their lives and this show can help them feel less alone. Another fantastic thing about this show is the location. It is set in Rome! And, it was filmed entirely on location in Rome rather than in a studio with green screens, which makes it very authentic. The cast and crew flew to Rome about four months to film the show and shot all of it in and in front of actual buildings all around the city. Another interesting thing to note is that, other than a few background actors, most of the tourists in the background of outdoor shots are real tourists just enjoying their vacations.

The message of this series is to always be true and genuine to yourself because that's ultimately the most important thing.

I give Home Sweet Rome! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch this series on Max starting May 16, 2024.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Welcome to Rome! Home Sweet Rome! is an incredible coming-of-age comedy series set in Italy's capital, with breathtaking views, funny scenes, and heartwarming moments.

This show takes place in Rome, where 13-year-old Lucy (Kensington Tallman) moves to after her dad Will (Darrin Rose) marries Italian popstar Francesa Fortuna (Eleonora Facchini). As Lucy tries to find her place in her new school, she embarrasses herself a lot, which leads to her struggling to make new friends, other than a boy named Nico (Christian Monaldi), and her long-distance best friend Kyla (Ava Ro). And while Lucy goes through this tough change, Francesca and Will try to help her through it, as they both know what it's like to face life-changing events.

The scenery in this show is absolutely incredible -- all of it, from the fountains, to the bridges, to even the interior of Lucy's apartment. One example is when Lucy and her dad are talking by the hotdog stand, and in the background, there is an amazing view of the city. Another part I adore is the choice in fashion. The clothes are stunning, especially with their unique patterns, color combinations, and style. I love how the fashion choices for Francesca's character match her so well, since they show that she is a popstar, but also has an incredible taste in clothing, in general. My favorite characters are Kyla and Francesca. I love Kyla, because of how supportive she is of Lucy and how she always knows what to say when Lucy is upset. For example, when Lucy is upset and crying, Kyla sings a song they created together and tells her to talk to her dad. I also love Francesca because although she is a famous singer in Italy, she shows that she cares about Lucy and wants her to live the best life she can. An example of this is when Lucy wants to make her late mom's famous mac-and-cheese for Thanksgiving, and Francesca decides to take Lucy to the market to try and find the necessary ingredients.

The message of this show is it is always important to be close with your family and friends. When Lucy goes through the normal ups and downs of moving to a new place, she learns that she has people around her that love and care for her, and will always help her when she needs it the most.

I give Home Sweet Rome! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. This series will be released on Max and other streaming platforms on May 16, 2024.

By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE

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STAR WARS: TALES OF THE EMPIRE - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO 12
Description - Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is a six-episode journey into the fearsome Galactic Empire through the eyes of two warriors on divergent paths, set during different eras. After losing everything, young Morgan Elsbeth navigates the expanding Imperial world toward a path of vengeance, while former Jedi Barriss Offee does what she must to survive a rapidly changing galaxy. The choices they make will define their destinies.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is an enjoyable series that I loved with its great animation and captivating characters.

The animated series consists of six short episodes and is split into two parallel stories - the first three episodes follow Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) who we were introduced to in 2023's Ashoka, and these episodes act as a sort of prequel for the Ashoka character. We witness Morgan's rise to power through vengeance, following the destruction of her home as a child. The last three episodes follow Barriss Offee (Meredith Salenger), a recurring character from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. These episodes show Barriss navigating an ever changing galaxy, and include stories from throughout her life.

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is perfect for lifelong fans, but also an entertaining watch for new viewers. Its stunning animation and characters make it an amazing entry into the Star Wars franchise. The animation style is in the vein of Star Wars' beloved animated series The Clone Wars, and is absolutely stunning. We are introduced to many characters, some familiar to fans, and some brand new; every character design is unique and lifelike. The episodes travel to many different planets in the Star Wars galaxy and the landscapes are distinct and beautiful. Absolutely everything in this series, snow, wind, or fire, is all so detailed and stylistic. Some of the most stunning animation in this series comes in the form of action. Tales of the Empire perfectly depicts the essence of the lightsaber in animation, and they have captured the same thrill of lightsaber combat that is so prominent in the live action films. The two characters at the forefront of Tales of the Empire, Morgan and Barriss, are both wonderfully nuanced and fascinating. The series juggles complex themes, which make the characters and their stories very rich and grounded. Morgan Elsbeth is a character forged through tragedy and is on a path of vengeance. She needs to choose whether she will rise above, or be corrupted by the very evil that took everything from her. Barriss Offee is a former Jedi, who is forced to traverse a world of conflicting good and evil, and ultimately choose her side. The characters are surprisingly multilayered and interesting.

The biggest constraint in Tales of the Empire's short format is its limited runtime, which means that the pacing is way too fast. Each episode spans just over ten minutes and the story moves along so quickly that we are unable to get a clear picture of the characters. The episodes have to hurry to their resolution so some scenes feel rushed, which lessens the emotional impact of the stories. Additionally, each episode features a different point in the character's life, so we feel like we are missing so much in the gaps between stories. Granted, the stories are very entertaining, but the lightning fast pace doesn't allow enough time to fully grasp them.

I give Star Wars: Tales of the Empire 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 18, plus adults. It releases on Disney Plus on May 4th, 2024.

By Daniel S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FUGITIVE FOX AND BARD BEAR
FUGITIVE FOX AND BARD BEAR - ALLY BRENOWITZ
Series: COLLEGE STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Description - Fugitive Fox has made a habit out of being a thief, but one day she steals something irreplaceable from the wrong animal.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I'm impressed by this student made short for its animation style and plot twist.

The storyline follows Fugitive Fox who is known for being a thief. One day she steals something irreplaceable from the wrong animal - Bard Bear - who will not stop before recovering his goods.

First of all, the characters are very interesting, especially Fugitive Fox, who is the most developed. I love the facial expressions on Fugitive Fox. But, Bard Bear stands out also; the only issue with it is that there's not a lot of definition in his drawing. The animation is pretty smooth and definitely brightly colored. When Fox steals the bag sitting on Bear's piano bench, you know that trouble will follow. But, we don't know what's in the bag until the end, and that's an interesting plot twist - as it is something more precious than gold!

The film's message is about the importance of our treasures and how some things are more important than money.

I give Fugitive Fox and Bard Bear 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'm impressed by this student made short for its animation style and plot twist.

The storyline follows Fugitive Fox who is known for being a thief. One day she steals something irreplaceable from the wrong animal - Bard Bear - who will not stop before recovering his goods.

First of all, the characters are very interesting, especially Fugitive Fox, who is the most developed. I love the facial expressions on Fugitive Fox. But, Bard Bear stands out also; the only issue with it is that there's not a lot of definition in his drawing. The animation is pretty smooth and definitely brightly colored. When Fox steals the bag sitting on Bear's piano bench, you know that trouble will follow. But, we don't know what's in the bag until the end, and that's an interesting plot twist - as it is something more precious than gold!

The film's message is about the importance of our treasures and how some things are more important than money.

I give Fugitive Fox and Bard Bear 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FRIGHT KREWE SEASON 2

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FRIGHT KREWE SEASON 2 - HULU, LLC
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Soleil Le Claire, a girl who lives for horror, accidentally breaks a spell on the Tree of Life and unleashes an ancient evil. The spirit of Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen of New Orleans, puts her and four other kids in charge of saving the city from Belial, an ancient demon who feeds on fear. Luckily, they're not alone, as each kid gets a special gift from the voodoo spirits called Loa. Eventually they learn their town's biggest secret: Vampires, rougarous, ghosts, monsters and demons are real and have secretly lived among humans for decades. The Krewe will have to hone their powers, figure out what Belial's up to and keep the peace between creatures as they go head-to-head with local legends from the underworld.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The suspenseful 10 episode series Fright Krewe Season 2 depicts the beautifully animated journey of a group of teens fighting monsters and just being teenagers. Their passionate acting combined with the evocative animation brings the characters to life. The crafting of the monsters and the music work together in harmony to frighten not only the characters but the viewers as well.

The story follows a group of misfit teenage friends, named the Krewe, who secretly fight the evil that threatens their world. Soleil (Sydney Mikayla), the protagonist and leader of the Krewe, is at the center of the nightmare that threatens the city of New Orleans. Belial (Jacques Colimon), the antagonist, summons monster after monster to combat the Krewe. Each Krewe member has special power that they must hone in order to save themselves, their city, and all those who are possessed by the evil spirits that threaten them. Will Soleil and her friends successfully ward off the demons, or will they fall into the possession of wickedness?

Sydney Mikayla's portrayal of Soleil's courage is beautifully balanced with her portrayal of Soleil's love of all things horror. Another key member of the Krewe, Missy, is played by Grace Lu whose vocal style conveys power and empathy at the same time. Terrance Little Gardenheigh, who plays Pat, and his co-stars create a wonderful ensemble to bring life to the rest of the Krewe. They speak just as teenagers would, making the Krewe easy to root for. The film mixes a modern realistic character animation style with a more classical animated background style, resulting in a unique look that viewers are drawn to. The monsters are otherworldly and inhuman, making them creepy enough for the audience to feel the fear behind the screen. The classical music and sound effects add an element of suspense during the climax of each episode when the Krewe fights the evil monsters.

This film's message centers around community and friendship, emphasizing the need to maintain our relationships through the hardships of life. There are consequences to our actions, and we must put friendship and love before all else that may tempt us. Note there is some graphic violence in the film and scary creatures.

Fright Krewe Season 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases on Hulu and Peacock March 29, 2024.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RENEGADE NELL

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RENEGADE NELL - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - A quick-witted and courageous young woman framed for murder unexpectedly becomes the most notorious outlaw in 18th-century England. When a magical spirit called Billy appears, Nell realizes her destiny is bigger than she ever imagined.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Renegade Nell is an impressive and captivating show that takes you back in time with a new twist to it.

Nell Jackson (Louisa Harland) has just come back from the dead when she suddenly finds herself being framed for murder and accidentally becomes the most dangerous criminal in all of the 18th century. As she tries to prove herself innocent she meets a magical spirit called Billy Blind (Nick Mohammed) and realizes just how important she is.

The female lead is one of the coolest parts of the show which is set in the 1800s. Nell Jackson is a unique and innovative role that pulls the attention of viewers. It is quite hard to create a female character that has a truly interesting and large role due to the restriction on gender roles during that time period. Another amazing part of this show is the plot, which isn't particularly unique except that the way it plays out allows the show to rise above others with similar plots. That keeps everything fresh and interesting. For example, Nell is an incredibly strong woman and is able to beat up many men without being caught. The cinematography is also outstanding, using visual and lighting effects that keep it looking like everything takes place in the 1800s. The show uses lots of dim lighting settings to portray the lack of proper lighting and keeps the screen from looking too modern.

The show's message is be careful with your actions and don't give up when things get rough.

I give Renegade Nell 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. You can watch this TV series on Disney+ starting March 29 2024.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Renegade Nell is a thrilling action series with a twist of magic! It is full of fast-paced fight scenes, mysterious rituals, and bizarre fantastical creatures. I especially love the character design and physical combat!

Set in 18th century England, Renegade Nell follows Nell Jackson (Louisa Harland), a quick-witted and adventurous woman with a special talent for battle. Nell returns to her home after a year of being presumed dead, and she expects nothing short of a warm welcome, but she quickly finds herself as England's most famous outlaw, framed for the murder of Lord Blancheford (Pip Torrens). All of a sudden, Nell and her sisters (Bo Bragason, Florence Keen) are runaways and must go into hiding and remain incognito while fending for themselves.

The thing I love about Renegade Nell is how the scenes move very fast, disguising the fact that the show's storyline moves relatively slowly. In the blink of an eye, a peaceful tea party can crumble into utter disaster and a fight can break out, which keeps the audience engaged. However, important plot points take longer to unfold, such as the truth about the Earl of Poynton (Adrian Lester) and the real reason Sofia (Alice Kremelberg) protected Thomas (Jake Dunn) from the police. I also like the fact that every character has a backstory, no matter how minor, and they contribute to the main events of the show. For example, Rasselas (Enyi Okworonko), the servant, has a secret relationship with a main character, and Sofia, originally portrayed as a compliant bystander, eventually emerges as an essential character with her own fiery personality - and she leads the investigation against Nell. The show even displays the backstory of the antagonist, which is a rarity. Renegade Nell is the first show that has made me want to root for the bad guys. The show takes its time to develop, but it gradually reveals a detailed network of connections between all the characters' separate stories. I love the character of Billy Blind (Nick Mohammed), a goofy fairy who brings necessary comic relief to heavier scenes. This combination of humor, action and solemnity makes the show well-rounded.

Renegade Nell reminds us that if you want something, you shouldn't wait for it to come to you. Reach for it and don't take no for an answer. Nell's inspiring self-defense skills also reminded me to stand up for myself and fight for what I believe in.

I give Renegade Nell 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The first season releases exclusively to Disney Plus on March 29, 2024.

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MESSI'S WORLD CUP: THE RISE OF A

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MESSI'S WORLD CUP: THE RISE OF A - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend is a biographical documentary series produced in a collaboration between Apple TV+, Smuggler Entertainment and Pegsa Group. The series follows Lionel Messi's triumphant career, his overall impact on football and shows his journey of highs and lows with the Argentina national football team across five World Cups, culminating with his fairytale ending of winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I loved every second of the documentary Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend. Messi is an absolute legend. I remember watching these games in 2022 so it's very very interesting to know what was going on behind the scenes, what the players were thinking and feeling, and other things. In the 2006 World Cup, he was just hoping he would get to play. Now he's the most decorated player in the history of the game.

This documentary follows Lionel Messi through the World Cup of 2022. The documentary shows his journey from when he was young to current time. It touches on his time at Barcelona, his previous World Cups, the challenges he had to overcome, his hopes and dreams for the 2022 World Cup, and finally the World Cup itself from the group stages all the way through the finals and how he feels and what he's thinking in between and throughout. The documentary does this across four episodes ranging from 44 minutes to 49 minutes in length titled "The Last Cup," "We Can Dream Again," "The Weight of a Nation," and "Redemption."

This is a feel-good documentary as we observe an inspiring man getting to accomplish his biggest dream. There's a wonderful beauty to that and this documentary is a beautiful depiction of it. Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend is really very well-made. It offers an intimate view into Lionel Messi's life. He speaks of Diego Maradonna, his soccer hero. Messi tells us that when he doesn't do well, he's very self-critical and explains how he feels guilty. The documentary includes interviews with Messi's teammates, his first coach and Argentina's coach, Lionel Sebasti�n Scaloni. It delves into what happened after the Saudi Arabia loss - 36 matches undefeated ended in the opening match. The Saudi Arabia win against Argentina came as one of the World Cup's greatest shocks. Roger Bennett says, "watching Lionel Messi walk off the field... It was agony. At this moment, he looked defeated." Everybody started attacking Messi after the World Cup loss to Saudi Arabia, saying he was overhyped and similar things. The documentary excels at comparing that incident to when Messi quit Argentina in 2016. When Messi did quit, everyone suddenly freaked out. People begged him to stay, to change his mind, there were even hash tags such as #LioDon'tLeave. Enzo Fernandez was 15 at the time and wrote a letter to Messi that ended up going viral. Six years later, Messi reverted his decision and Fernandez played alongside him in the World Cup. They won it together. The documentary is full of heart touching anecdotes like this. I truly had a smile on my face the entire time I watched it. I love seeing how Messi and his teammates celebrate after a goal - all smiles and jumping on each other. It's heartwarming how happy they look and how they support one another. Watching the team hang out together makes me smile as they sing, dance, chant, play card games and celebrate! This is all Messi's story. Throughout the documentary, you can tell he truly loves his children, his wife, his sport, his country, his team and his life. What a legend! Like Messi or not, you cannot deny that he is one of the greatest players of all time. This documentary helps us understand him, his journey, and his story. You can't say you're a soccer fan and not know the story of one of the greatest players the world has ever seen. Messi's teammates say that they all grew up watching him play. Emiliano Martinez says "We feel that we have to defend our hero." Fernandez says "The team always had the sense of wanting to win it for Leo." It felt like all of Argentina was watching, saying "We need to win because it's Messi's last one." This is an absolutely amazing documentary. I wish it had included interviews with the French team in the fourth episode, which would have given us a very interesting perspective. Argentina would have lost to France, 3-4, if not for Martinez's brilliant last-minute save.

The film's message is that you can't do it alone. The World Cup final is one of the best and most interesting matches I've ever seen. It was Messi's World Cup. But it was also Martinez's world cup. And Fernandez's world cup. Alvarez, Di Maria, De Paul, Scaloni, every other person on that team. It was Argentina's World Cup. Messi could never have done it without them. The documentary ends with Messi saying "I'm just a kid from Rosario who loves to play ball." That makes the documentary all the more inspiring. Messi says "If something is meant to happen to you, it will happen." That's another one of the messages. Messi worked really hard. This documentary shows that truly anyone can do it. Work hard enough, and you can achieve all your dreams. Don't give up. That's 100% true. But by Messi saying that, he acknowledges there's an aspect of luck to it as well.

I give Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults, but this is truly a must-watch for all fans of the sport. You can watch this documentary starting February 21, 2024 on AppleTV+.

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend follows pro soccer player Lionel Messi's journey through obstacles and triumphs during the 2022 World Cup. Tasked with leading his team and acting as the face of Argentina, Messi must lead his teammates and country to victory.

This documentary series tells the story of all-star Messi's background throughout the episodes, often non-chronologically. However, at times this method doesn't work, and the story feels disjointed, underdeveloped and the flashbacks feel out of place. We undoubtedly root for Messi throughout the series, but only because the series urges us to cheer him on, not because we have fully gotten to know him. Also, the documentary's formula grows repetitive. We continuously witness Lionel and Argentina's performance during the World Cup, which becomes hard to watch. Messi never remains at a high or low because the series swiftly cycles between the media disliking him, him gaining back their support, and the media disliking him again. This trend is utilized so many times throughout the episodes that it's hard to cheer for a win when we know there is another devastating loss around the corner. Fortunately, Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend thrives from its frequent use of footage from Messi's games. As an audience, we truly get a sense of why Lionel Messi is regarded as one of the all time greats of soccer. He is fueled by his peers and country, which is quite inspiring. His collaboration with teammates and talent in the game is truly entertaining to watch. Viewing the way in which the Argentinean team bonds throughout their wins and losses is something very special to see.

There is no question that Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend has aspects that soccer fans and Lionel Messi fans will enjoy, but the series fails to include many additions that it would benefit from.

I give Messi's World Cup: The Rise of a Legend 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Catch the series when it releases on February 21, 2024 on Apple TV+.

By Daniel S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOVE DON'T BULLY
LOVE DON'T BULLY - ILYSA SPENCER
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Description - Santa Fe middle school students explore bullying in society and at school.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like hearing about others' experiences with bullying and how they got past it in the short film Love Don't Bully. It is important that people hear how common it is and how we all have a responsibility to stop it.

This film is about young peoples' experiences with bullying and their thoughts on why it exists and how to stop it. There are points of view from children and adults. Each person gives their story and how they have dealt with bullying.

I like that everyone that spoke expressed how they moved past the bullying. They discussed different things like keeping good friends, talking to a therapist and working hard to not judge people. The interviews are about everyone's bullying experiences and what they learned from it. I particularly enjoyed the anti-bully boy and wanted more from that character. There is nothing particularly interesting about the camera work, angles or shots. Students are filmed against a plain backdrop. The lighting is not particularly good, but works well enough to not detract from the impact of the film. Many of the interviews have the camera angled up at the person being interviewed, which I found to be distracting. It seems that we are often looking up at the speaker. There are many different angles and uses of lighting that cause shadows. It is unclear if that was intentional or not. The session with Navi has different lighting but it is the same interview format. The audio is pretty serviceable, although one scene outside suffers from lack of use of a windscreen. There isn't background music during the film. There is only music in the introduction and outro. My favorite part is when the anti-bully boy comes out! The film quality may not work well on a big screen; I recommend a small screen or virtual screening rather than a big screen event.

The film's message is about how to deal with any bullying encounter you have and offers ways to stop bullying from happening.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like hearing about others' experiences with bullying and how they got past it in the short film Love Don't Bully. It is important that people hear how common it is and how we all have a responsibility to stop it.

This film is about young peoples' experiences with bullying and their thoughts on why it exists and how to stop it. There are points of view from children and adults. Each person gives their story and how they have dealt with bullying.

I like that everyone that spoke expressed how they moved past the bullying. They discussed different things like keeping good friends, talking to a therapist and working hard to not judge people. The interviews are about everyone's bullying experiences and what they learned from it. I particularly enjoyed the anti-bully boy and wanted more from that character. There is nothing particularly interesting about the camera work, angles or shots. Students are filmed against a plain backdrop. The lighting is not particularly good, but works well enough to not detract from the impact of the film. Many of the interviews have the camera angled up at the person being interviewed, which I found to be distracting. It seems that we are often looking up at the speaker. There are many different angles and uses of lighting that cause shadows. It is unclear if that was intentional or not. The session with Navi has different lighting but it is the same interview format. The audio is pretty serviceable, although one scene outside suffers from lack of use of a windscreen. There isn't background music during the film. There is only music in the introduction and outro. My favorite part is when the anti-bully boy comes out! The film quality may not work well on a big screen; I recommend a small screen or virtual screening rather than a big screen event.

The film's message is about how to deal with any bullying encounter you have and offers ways to stop bullying from happening.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
AMERICA DIVIDED
AMERICA DIVIDED - ASHER ANANTHAM
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Description - We investigate the causes and consequences of America's increased divisiveness over the last 20 years. Speaking with a political expert from the Cato Institute, the president and vice-president of Montgomery County Council and the director of the Penn Primals Project, we attempt to find a path forward for America.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Thank you Asher for taking on a very complex subject.

This documentary examines the inequalities of the political state of affairs that the US is currently experiencing and asks more questions than it answers.

Well produced, with good video and audio, and a terrific narrator. It really takes a look at the split in political beliefs in the US in the last 20 years and, although it doesn't offer any solutions is a reminder that we are all one thing - Americans.

The film's message is to question the circumstances that has brought this country to its knees politically.

I give American Divided 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Thank you Asher for taking on a very complex subject.

This documentary examines the inequalities of the political state of affairs that the US is currently experiencing and asks more questions than it answers.

Well produced, with good video and audio, and a terrific narrator. It really takes a look at the split in political beliefs in the US in the last 20 years and, although it doesn't offer any solutions is a reminder that we are all one thing - Americans.

The film's message is to question the circumstances that has brought this country to its knees politically.

I give American Divided 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. By Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MASTERS OF  THE AIR

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MASTERS OF THE AIR - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - An Apple Original Series from Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman - the producers of Band of Brothers and The Pacific. During World War II, airmen risk their lives with the 100th Bomb Group, a brotherhood forged by courage, loss, and triumph. Masters of the Air is based on the 2007 book Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller and follows the actions of the 100th Bomb Group, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber unit in the Eighth Air Force in eastern England during World War II. The series serves as a companion to Band of Brothers (2001) and The Pacific (2010). It is the first series to be produced by Apple Studios, in cooperation with Playtone, and Amblin Television.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Masters of the Air is exactly the kind of masterpiece viewers expect from the dynamic duo of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Perfect for fans of war dramas, Masters of the Air has the rich plotline and sky-high production quality to not only entertain, but even educate its viewers; it's a shame that the pacing lets the magnificent series down slightly.

Adapted from Donald L. Miller's book of the same name, Masters of the Air presents in nine episodes the story of eleven men who, in a plane called the "Flying Fortress," battle flocks of German fighters. These men were a part of the 100th Bombardment Group of the US Army Air Forces in World War II, nicknamed the "Bloody Hundredth," due to the heavy losses they suffered over the course of their campaigns. They embark on a scintillating journey as they work to destroy Hitler's Third Reich. It's truly a momentous story.

Both Band of Brothers and The Pacific, the films that Masters of Air is linked with (it provides the Air Force narrative to supplement their stories of terrestrial and naval warfare) are well-known for their incredible visuals and CGI. Masters of Air is no different; the midair combat is almost dizzyingly realistic, the sets are stunningly crafted, and every character's look is intricately pieced together. The series warrants a theater experience, which viewers unfortunately won't get. These amazing VFX are thanks to the high production budget of the film -- between $200 million and $250 million. The series also has some incredible talent behind it, though; Austin Butler, who plays Major Gale Cleven, and Barry Keoghan, who plays Lt. Curtis Biddick, headline Masters of the Air, and their brotherhood and bond is palpable. Their storyline becomes especially strong after an unfortunate turn of events when they're taken as prisoners of war. The only knock on Masters of the Air is its pacing; every episode feels lengthy, but the first two episodes are especially rough. It was tough to sit and wait for the plot to get moving, though there are combat scenes after the first half-hour of episode 1. I suppose it took me some time to get used to Cary Joji Fukunaga's style of direction, though he ensures that every part of each scene he films has not a hair out of place, which is commendable.

Masters of the Air is a lesson in patriotism, courage and resilience. The men of the show stick together even when death is at their doorstep -- not just for their own pride or sanity, but more importantly, for their country.

I give Masters of the Air 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The first two episodes of this miniseries will release on Apple TV+ on January 26, 2024. New episodes will be released the following Fridays through March 15.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LOKI: SEASON 2

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LOKI: SEASON 2 - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO18
Description - Loki: Season 2 picks up in the aftermath of the shocking season finale when Loki finds himself in a battle for the soul of the Time Variance Authority. Along with�Mobius, Hunter B-15 and a team of new and returning characters, Loki navigates an ever-expanding and increasingly dangerous multiverse in search of Sylvie, Judge Renslayer, Miss Minutes and the truth of what it means to possess free will and glorious purpose.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Loki: Season 2, Episode 3, 1893 is the climax episode that will keep viewers entertained. Filled with action, time travel, plot twists and dramatic irony, this is one of the most engaging episodes.

This episode continues Loki's (Tom Hiddleston) journey at the TVA with Mobius (Owen Wilson), but it travels back in time to visit another variant of "He Who Remains," named Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors) in 1893, who, after being given a TVA notebook by Ravonna (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and the rouge cartoon clock, Miss Minutes (Tara Strong), proceeds to work on various invention prototypes. This leads to a feud between the many teams in a battle of their wants and needs from this new "He Who Remains" variant. You'll have to watch to see how the story unfolds.

I love seeing Jonathan Majors as the "He Who Remains" variant. His character's stutter is realistic, adds depth to his role while he gives an incredible performance. It is hard for me to even believe it's him. The costumes are also amazing. When the present-day characters travel to 1893 their outfits change to reflect the new era. The special effects of characters like Miss Minutes' and Loki's powers are mind-blowing. Keep in mind this episode is pretty lengthy, but it doesn't feel like it, at all. It's incredible how the writers can stray from a typical Loki storyline and still make it engaging and entertaining. Music also plays a big part in this show, especially in relation to the different time periods and the action scenes. And keeping with the time travel, even the regular Marvel intro is updated with the sounds of classic piano tunes, which is really creative!

This episode touches on believing in yourself, finding where you belong, and trusting in others. This episode shows many examples of these messages from Victor Timely presenting all his new ideas to the times when evil strikes and betrayal occurs. The only scene that is somewhat inappropriate is one where Miss Minutes tries to flirt with Mr. Timely.

Loki: Season 2, Episode 3,1893 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can watch it on Disney+ now and new episodes release every Thursday.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Loki Season 2, Episode 4 is a new fun, adventurous and action-packed experience for those who have already seen the first season as well as those who are just beginning to watch the show. I really enjoyed the new season of Loki because of the CGI, the acting, the time manipulation in the show and the messages in the show. This series is kid-friendly with some moderate violence and could also be of interest to adults as well.

The storyline follows the mercurial villain, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Along with Mobius (Owen Wilson), Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) and a team of new and returning characters, Loki tries to stop the temporal loom from exploding and destroying not only the TVA (Time Variance Authority), but also a big fraction of the quantum realm with it. Throughout his journey he makes new friends and meets new enemies. Once he and his team begin their mission to prevent the explosion of the temporal loom, something horrible happens, something so horrible that it would change their lives forever.

This new episode is phenomenal, and I enjoyed it a lot, primarily because of the CGI. The CGI makes everything like space debris and the particles flying around in the quantum realm look so realistic. Another thing I really enjoyed about this episode is the acting. The cast play their roles so well and put on terrific performances. Additionally, the time manipulation is absolutely mind blowing. In one scene we see Loki talking to Sylvie, and when Sylvie goes to the next floor, she sees present day Loki zapping another Loki from a different timeframe. This scene is the icing on the cake for me. I like how this show is kid-friendly but can easily interest some adults as well.

Although there are many messages this series portrays, the one that I really like and rings very true to life is that the most valuable thing a person can spend is time, whether it's time with family, time at work, or time alone. Be forewarned that it does contain moderate violence, some cursing, and some alcohol use.

Loki Season 2, Episode 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available now on Disney+ so be sure to check it out. See ya!

by Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Episode 5 of Loki: Season 2 is a unique, thrilling portrait of Loki rocketing through the multiverse, paying for his past mistakes; it offsets Marvel's other tedious TV projects with action and vivacity. It didn't disappoint my expectations, and I'm sure it won't let down ardent Marvel fans, those binging the show, or others looking for an episode to catch on Disney+.

Loki: Season 2 picks up with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) searching for the soul of the Time Variance Authority, an authority dedicated to preserving the Sacred Timeline. In Episode 5, he's focused on using his almost-funny time-slipping abilities to get to all the people who were at the Time Variance Authority when wires were crossed. None of them recognize him, and Loki can't stop slipping into new times and locations. For example, he sees Mobius (Owen Wilson) selling jet skis as a middle-aged dad in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2022. The God of Mischief assembles a team and tries to earn their trust. Perhaps it's because I was entering this episode blind, but the plot seems extremely complex for the first half of the episode as I pieced things together; luckily, things were much easier to understand after establishing some context.

In Season 2, the stakes are elevated, and the writing is super strong; I was glued to the screen throughout the 45-minute Episode 5. The visual effects are very realistic, as are the practical sets -- the color-correction across timelines differs, but it adds to the aesthetic of each character whom Loki is trying to find. The cinematography is wonderful, with lots of close-ups and medium shots to capture Tom Hiddleston's emotions, along with those of the other characters. Mentioning the cast, all skillfully carry the complex plot, which could have become overwhelming. Tom Hiddleston is one of my favorite actors - the lovable yet full-of-himself Norse god Loki. Ke Huy Quan as OB, the techie trying to help Loki, is another favorite I didn't expect; his earnest effort to help and bumbling personality go together wonderfully. Owen Wilson as Mobius adds a wonderful comedic tint to the episode, with physical comedy (miming that he'll call the police on Loki when he first arrives), zingers, and more subtle lines (He remarks with a bewildered expression that when Loki time-slips, "it looks like you're being born, or dying - or both at the same time."). Overall, a wonderful package.

This episode of the show promotes teamwork and taking responsibility to solve problems when they arise. Loki may be the God of Mischief, but he takes a remarkable amount of accountability to restore the TVA and works with every character across timelines. Loki's time-slipping can feel a little bit like a jump scare, with his face and body contorting and some demonic noises accompanying it, so parents with young children might want to tell them to brace themselves.

Loki: Season 2, Episode 5 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Loki Season 2 is playing exclusively on Disney+ now, with new episodes weekly.

by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FACEPLANT, SEASON 2: THE SIDE OF SUCCESS NO ONE TALKS

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FACEPLANT, SEASON 2: THE SIDE OF SUCCESS NO ONE TALKS - SINGLETON FOUNDATION
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO18
Description - The Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy & Entrepreneurship is launching Season 2 of Faceplant, a documentary style series about some familiar faces, their career and life struggles, and how they overcame them to get back up stronger than ever. From Hollywood actors, directors and producers to Olympic athletes, the show gives inspiration as we hear how they took the lemons life gave them and turned it into lemonade. Uncover the personal stories from people who discover the value of failure in pursuit of their dreams. One person highlighted in Season 2 is Damian Escobar in The Side of Success That Nobody Talks About. Originally from Jamaica, Queens, New York, world renowned violinist Damien's inspiring journey of making it big (3rd place on America's Got Talent), losing it all (and sleeping on his mother's couch), fights to rebuild for a second chance at success -- because if you can get to the top, you can also surely find yourself at the bottom.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From struggle to symphony, the inspirational and moving documentary The Side of Success No One Talks About beautifully captures the remarkable journey of a musician who's weathered life's toughest storms to reclaim his passion.

This short documentary is part of the popular docu-series, Faceplant, about seven entrepreneurs who share their game-changing life lessons with us. This film offers a portrait of Damien Escobar, a gifted violinist whose journey to success and back is heartwarming. From his early start in music, his acceptance into Juilliard at 9 years old and performing for three U.S. presidents, to the lows of financial hardship and personal crisis, this documentary gives us a glimpse into the rollercoaster life of a musical prodigy.

This is a short film hat will resonate with a wide range of audiences, from aspiring musicians to anyone in need of inspiration during challenging times. The film exquisitely profiles Damien and the talented and ambitious individuals who mirror him. Damien's resilience and passion for music shine through every frame, making it impossible not to root for him, in this a classic underdog-to-hero story. One of the standout aspects of this documentary is its ability to convey the emotional depth of Damien's journey. The audience can feel his triumphs and setbacks, and the film truly makes you emotionally invested in his story in a short period of time. Additionally, the interviews with Damien provide valuable insights into his experiences and mindset. My favorite part is when Damien shares his rediscovery of his love for music and embarks on a successful solo career. It's a testament to the power of passion and determination, and it's truly inspiring to witness him rise from adversity.

This film carries a powerful message of resilience, the pursuit of one's true passion, and the importance of finding joy in the journey of life. It encourages viewers to reflect on their own paths and the obstacles they may encounter along the way.

I give Faceplant, Season 2: The Side of Success No One Talks About 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can find it streaming online now at Millionstories.com.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CURSES

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CURSES
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CURSES - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Description - When a generations- long family curse turns Alex Vanderhouven to stone, it's up to his two kids, Pandora and Russ, and his wife Sky, to return artifacts stolen by their ancestors to their rightful homes to finally lift the curse for good.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Curses is a fun and mysterious 10 episode series that is full of adventures and soon to be solved mysteries. This show is very kid friendly and could be interesting to adults as well. I really enjoy how this show refers to ancient civilizations and how the adventures you take around the world.

The storyline follows the Vanderhouven family when a generations-long family curse turns Alex Vanderhouven (Reid Scott) to stone. It's up to his wife Sky Vanderhouven (Lyric Lewis) and their two kids, Russ (Andre Robinson) and Pandora (Gabrielle Nevaeh) to return artifacts stolen by their ancestors to their rightful homes to finally lift the curse for good. The Vanderhouvens need to solve this mystery soon before it's too late.

This very adventurous show is full of unsolved mysteries and has lots of educational benefits. For example, in one episode we learn about two ancient civilizations -- the Aztecs, and the Olmec. The animation is phenomenal and the voice-acting cast is amazing - Rhys Darby, Rhea Perlman, Phylicia Rashad and horror legend Robert Englund, among others - which makes it outstanding. The voice actors really portray their characters exceptionally well. The way the director shows the bond between the family members and how they support each other is rare for an animated show. This show is so inspiring and heartfelt. However, I will say that the storyline is very predictable; for instance, when the kids go looking for their father I already knew something bad had happened because of how he was being so secretive from the beginning of the show.

The show's message is that, with the help of a family member, friend, or a trusted adult, you can do anything.

I give Curses 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 through 12, plus adults. This show premieres on Apple TV+ October 27, 2023, just in time for Halloween. Be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SNOOPY PRESENTS: ONE-OF-A-KIND MARCIE

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SNOOPY PRESENTS: ONE-OF-A-KIND MARCIE - APPLE TV
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Description - One-of-a-Kind Marcie follows Marcie, an introvert who loves her solitude but also enjoys helping her friends. During the school golf championship, Marcie assists Peppermint Patty as her caddie, offering thoughtful and deliberate advice to help her win. Meanwhile, back at school, Marcie is nominated for class president and starts to observe other friends and classmates needing help -- from traffic jams in the hallway to not having enough to share with everyone at lunch. Full of great ideas, Marcie wants to offer help but struggles to share them in a way that doesn't force her to be in the spotlight. She is eventually empowered to buck other people's expectations and embrace her own unique way of doing things -- allowing her to help her friends in her own way out of the spotlight.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Snoopy Presents: One-of-a-kind Marcie is truly one of a kind! In the new and first feature film about the infamous and brilliant Marcie from the Peanuts gang, the true essence of the beloved character is revealed. It's quite different from the style and messages of previous Peanuts films but still with the look and feel we've come to love of the classic franchise.

In Snoopy Presents: One-of-a-Kind Marcie, Marcie (Arianna McDonald), the main character, is an introvert who struggles with using all her amazing ideas to help solve problems for her friends and classmates on the big stage ... from wanting to solve the pizza shortage at her school, to helping Peppermint Patty (Lexi Perri) with playing golf. Peppermint Patty suggests Marcie run for Class President since she has such great ideas; however, since Marcie is too shy, she doesn't want to do it. Throughout the film, we get to see the challenges Marcie faces while trying to juggle being an introvert and wanting to help everyone.

My favorite aspect of this film is what the director Raymond S. Persi refers to as "still picture" scenes, which are used to show Marcie's feeling when talking about not wanting to run for Class President. She goes into her own little world surrounded by black shadows that appear to be "coming for her." This film is unique because the other films tend to focus on Charlie Brown, the whole gang, or characters who are popular, special events, and holidays. Instead this one highlights a personality type and Marcie's challenges. I love that the Executive Producer and son of Charles M. Schultz, Mr. Craig Shultz, drew inspiration for the film from the movie Hidden Figures and wanted to make a film about a smart girl with big ideas that just needed a way to show them off!

The message of this film is to just be yourself, be one-of-a-kind. Even if you are introverted, you can do anything and even if you feel overwhelmed, that's okay. You can find other ways to get your ideas out there! In the film, Marcie speaks about this multiple times to herself and to her friends. Don't let your personality type stop you in life.

I give Snoopy Presents: One-of-a-kind Marcie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it on Apple TV+ starting August 18, 2023.

By Tiana S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES SEASON 4

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HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES SEASON 4 - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - After an epic summer at Camp Shallow Lake, the Wildcats return to East High where they prepare a stage production of "High School Musical 3: Senior Year." But plans are disrupted when Principal Gutierrez announces that Disney has decided to make the long-awaited "High School Musical 4: The Reunion" movie on location at their beloved high school.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 4 is a great new season to add to the previous three. The series features many returning characters that are known and loved, as well as some new additions to the cast.

Season 4 has the East High students putting on a production of High School Musical 3: Senior Year. However things take a twist when it's revealed by a famous couple that they, along with some of the original cast of the High School Musical trilogy are going to be making High School Musical 4 right in the East High School. With tensions brewing and the movie crew taking over the school, the East High students are in for a wild ride this season.

The twists and turns that happen throughout this season are amazingly captivating. Every time I think things can't get crazier, they do. The relationship between Ricky (Joshua Bassett) and Gina (Sofia Wylie) is very cute and one of the best parts of this season. Actually all of the relationship and friendship dynamics in the show are very cute and scripted. Another cool part of this season is the return of lots of alumni from the original series, including Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel and the legendary Alyson Reed. The whole cast excels in their performances of their characters -- the dynamics of the various relationships are well defined and make sense. For example the relationship between characters Ashlyn (Julia Lester) and Maddox (Saylor Bell Cruda) starts as a platonic friendship with lots of texting yet seems to be developing into more. The show is filmed again at the iconic East High School, which is an appealing part of the series that we all relate to now. One of my all-time favorite parts of this season is the creation of an entirely fake show called Mark and Spark with its own intro and theme song. A new character, Mack (Mathew Sato), comes to East High to star in High School Musical 4 and Mark and Spark is the show that made him famous when he was young. The show features many revised versions of Disney songs such as Now or Never from High School Musical 3 as well as lots of new original songs that are very catchy. One of my favorites is the song in episode one that Ricky and Gina write together about their relationship. Other returning actors include Dara Rene�, Julia Lester, Frankie Rodriguez, Kate Reinders, Liamani Segura and many more.

The message of this season is to be in the moment and don't get caught up in the past. It is a continuing message throughout the entire series.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. The new season releases all episodes August 9, 2023 on Disney+.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I love High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 4. It's filled with engaging content and storylines that keep you hooked. The characters and themes are easy to enjoy and understand, especially if you are a High School Musical fan and even if you are new to the series.

The new series joins the East High drama club's return from a hectic summer camp when things take an unexpected turn. The original cast of High School Musical, the movie, arrives to introduce a new movie idea with the East High drama club included in the cast. The drama club will also stage an adaptation of one of the HSM films. The plot moves quickly and is fun and easy to follow with some unexpected surprises along the way. Each episode recaps the previous storyline and keeps it going with new twists, subplots and characters that make them easy to watch and watch again. The camera work with smooth zooms and clear focus on the actors enhances the viewing experience. I love how the costumes match the vibe of average teens, featuring popular brands and fresh styles. I appreciate the attention to detail with the set design; they truly reflect high schoolers rooms from the neat and organized to the truly messy. I couldn't help but enjoy the music. The background music really sets the mood and moves the story along. But it is the cast's songs that really tell the story with well-rounded lyrics and fun-to-listen-to melodies. I really enjoyed the harmonies of the Halloween special; full of fun and a great surprise to start off the first episode of the season--an excellent beat. The new main character Gina (Sofia Wylie) shows a deep emotional side while remaining strong and confident. I enjoy how relatable her character is. The scriptwriter did a strong job with fast-moving dialogue that is witty, complex and heartfelt. The writers create a series that entertains, with a story inside of a story, without being confusing. My favorite part is when Gina meets Mark (Matthew Sato) her childhood crush and her current boyfriend Ricky (Joshua Bassett) jealously and comically tries to prove he's better than him.

The message of this season is about taking things slowly, not rushing into decisions, and figuring things out calmly.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Season 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Season 4 releases August 9, 2023 on Disney+.


Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HAILEY'S ON IT

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HAILEY'S ON IT - DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Description - Hailey Banks, a risk-averse but resourceful teenager on a mission to complete every item on her long list of challenging (and sometimes impractical) tasks in order to save the world. Hailey will be pushed outside her comfort zone to discover the greatness within as she systematically conquers her fears, whether she is winning a sand-building competition, wrestling a honey badger, eating a raw onion, or facing her ever-growing and complicated feelings toward her best friend, Scott.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Hailey's On It is an incredibly fun and entertaining animated comedy-adventure series that captivated me and is sure to captivate audiences of all ages. With its unique premise and engaging characters, this Disney production showcases creativity and humor in every episode.

From the very first scene, it's clear that Hailey's On It is a delightful series. The combination of risk-averse yet resourceful teenager Hailey (Auli?i Cravalho) and her futuristic sidekick Beta (Gary Anthony Williams) create a dynamic duo that viewers will instantly connect with. The chemistry between the characters is charming, and their interactions provide a perfect balance of comedy and heart.

The series revolves around Hailey's mission to complete a list of challenging tasks, some of which may seem impractical but ultimately contribute to saving the world. While the overarching storyline is compelling, the show wisely balances it with episodic adventures that allow for individual character development and exploration. Each episode of Hailey's On It introduces a new item from Hailey's list, presenting unique challenges that require her problem-solving skills and resourcefulness. The plotlines are well-crafted, keeping viewers engaged and eager to see how Hailey and Beta navigate each task.

Hailey's On It is a family-friendly series that promotes positive social behavior. The characters treat each other with respect and support, and the show emphasizes the value of teamwork and problem-solving. Hailey's determination serves as positive examples for young viewers, encouraging them to embrace their own abilities and take on difficult tasks. The lead characters, Hailey and Beta, steal the show with their distinct personalities and relatable traits. Hailey's relatability lies in her risk-averse nature, which many viewers will find endearing and familiar. Beta, the AI from the future, adds a delightful futuristic touch to the series, providing both comedic relief and technological prowess. AI has recently become woven into all of our lives and it is great to see Disney jumping on the bandwagon so quickly. The animation in the show is top-notch, with vibrant colors, smooth movements, and detailed backgrounds. The visual aesthetic perfectly complements the adventurous tone of the show, creating an immersive viewing experience.

The underlying message of Hailey's On It centers on the importance of facing challenges head-on, even when they seem daunting.

I give Hailey's On It 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. The series releases on Disney+ and Disney Channel on June 8, 2023, so mark your calendars and get ready for an adventure-filled journey alongside Hailey and Beta!

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PREHISTORIC PLANET 2

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PREHISTORIC PLANET 2 - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - Experience the wonders of our world like never before in this epic docuseries from Jon Favreau and the producers of "Planet Earth." "Prehistoric Planet" season two continues to bring Earth's history to life like never before as the series presents new dinosaurs, new habitats and new scientific discoveries while taking viewers around the world in an epic five-night adventure. With new dinosaurs like the Tarchia, one of the largest Ankylosauri, to returning fan-favorites like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and many more, "Prehistoric Planet" returns with an all-new season of prehistoric wonders.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Prepare to be wowed by an incredible new documentary mini-series to be released this month. Back for its second season, Prehistoric Planet 2, produced by the world-renowned team from BBC's Natural History Unit, unveils new species and habitats which occupied ancient Earth 66 million years ago. I was really looking forward to watching this expansive series with its advanced technology and I was not disappointed.

The show takes viewers back millions of years to examine a variety of new species within their unique habitats. Based on new evidence provided by paleontologists and other experts within the field, these filmmakers are able to authentically recreate the Jurassic world and highlight the many interactions within and between species, and show how these magnificent creatures needed to fight so hard for their survival. This impressively animated series brings Earth's history to life with such extraordinary detail.

Prehistoric Planet 2 is an educational masterpiece! There is so much to appreciate in this series. The CGI is state of the art; the CGI images are, by far, the best I've seen. The highly technical scenes are so dramatic and bring great adventure into our homes. Although the information portrayed by the biodiverse species in each episode has great merit from new found evidence by archaeologists, a lot of guesses and inferring goes into the depiction of these creatures. The information about these species makes perfect sense and I was truly inspired by each episode. Narrated by beloved 97-year-old David Attenborough who excels as he explains to viewers the lives of so many unique species. He brings great excitement and emotion to Prehistoric Planet 2. Parents need to be aware that some of the graphic content regarding survival strategies may be too intense for younger viewers.

The message throughout each episode of the show is about understanding the biological dynamics of our ancient Earth. We all find dinosaurs fascinating, but there is much more to be learned about their relationships, adaptations and survival mechanisms. Gaining knowledge about past species not only helps us better understand their existence on Earth and it also helps us build more complete ancestral connections to species living today. Education is priceless!

Prehistoric Planet 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Prehistoric Planet 2 releases on Apple TV+ May 22, 2023
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FROG AND TOAD

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FROG AND TOAD - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 2-8
Description - Frog is a frog. Toad is a toad. They have a lot in common ... but they are also very different. Frog and Toad are best friends who know that the true secret to friendship is not only enjoying the things you have in common, but embracing the things that make you different. Since our differences are what makes us special, Frog and Toad celebrate what makes them unique!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Frog and Toad is a new TV series based on the classic fictional children's story. In every episode Frog and Toad go on a new adventure and each adventure provides a valued life lesson.

The story follows a very joyful Frog and a groggy Toad on unique journeys around their neighborhood. Frog and Toad are the best of friends and spend every day together. Toad loves to bake, relax and enjoy his life at a slow pace; while Frog, on the other hand is an outgoing, upbeat and cheerful character. The main theme of the story in all the episodes is how Frog and Toad always help each other and never leave one another's side.

I love how this series constantly reminds me of how opposites really do complement each other. The animation is adorable, although some scenes are quite unrealistic. The storyline is terrific and the voice actors are fantastic. The voice actor for both Frog and Toad (Kevin Michael Richardson) is so enthusiastic. Throughout the series we see the characters really being authentic to what they are trying to say and, in one particular scene, Frog is trying to convince Toad to wake up from hibernation on the first day of spring (even though toads hibernate until late spring).

My favorite scene of the series is in the episode called "The Letter" where Frog hears Toad say that he has never gotten mail before. Frog goes back home to write Toad his very own first letter and after he finishes it, he brings it to the town's post office and tells the little postman (a snail) to take the letter as fast as he can to Toad's house. As you know, snails are awfully slow, so when Frog goes back to see Toad he is lying in bed and feeling upset that he isn't getting any mail and thinks he never will. Little does he know Snail is on his way, but definitely taking a while to bring his letter. Frog is a true friend to Toad because he waits two days with Toad waiting for Snail to come and bring his very first mail. You just have to see it!

The message of this series is to always enjoy our friends and appreciate our life; we only have a certain amount of time. Another message is to love the outdoors, just as we see Frog and Toad love spending their time going on walks and having a picnic. This teaches children not just to be on their electronics but to also savor the great outdoors!

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 2-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JANE

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JANE
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JANE - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Description - Jane, a 9-year-old budding environmentalist on a quest to save endangered animals. Using her powerful imagination, Jane takes her best friends David and Greybeard the chimpanzee on epic adventures to help protect wild animals all around the world because, according to her idol Dr. Jane Goodall: "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, can they be saved."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - To all nature and environmental enthusiasts, sit tight because a great mini-series is coming your way! Jane, a new 10-episode action adventure series is the "complete package" full of imagination, thrills, and a whole lot of education, inspired by the work of famous conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall. Viewers are in for a real treat.

The series takes us through the imaginative short journeys of Jane Garcia (Ava Louise Murchison) and her best friend and partner-in-crime, David (Mason Blomberg), who set out to save the world's vanishing species. While on their quest to help these species, this dynamic duo educates viewers about threatened wildlife and explains the importance of making a change for generations to come. Following each journey, these young environmentalists are joined virtually by a research scientist who not only shares so much information about specific species, but also shares their own experiences, which adds excitement to each episode. From bees to bats and bears, the Jane series is exceptional!

Each episode is so inspiring which is what I like most about Jane. Of course the adventure, action, and creativity are also enjoyable, but what makes this series stand out is the education we get about diminishing species and what can be done to save them. The visual effects also deserve a mention. The live action/CGI-blended scenes are outstanding. Set locations are perfectly chosen, allowing viewers to feel they are right there alongside the animals.

The Jane series delivers a message of hope. Each of us, no matter what age, needs to be committed in order to make positive change for our ecosystems. Every species is important on our planet, and if we can gain a better understanding of the problems that exist within nature, maybe we can fix them. We're all in this together, and together we can make change -future generations are counting on us!

I give Jane 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Jane makes
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MANDALORIAN, THE: SEASON 3

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MANDALORIAN, THE: SEASON 3 - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - The journeys of the Mandalorian through the Star Wars galaxy continue. Once a lone bounty hunter, Din Djarin has reunited with Grogu. Meanwhile, the New Republic struggles to lead the galaxy away from its dark history. The Mandalorian will cross paths with old allies and make new enemies as he and Grogu continue their journey together.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Mandalorian is back for Season 3 and coming in hot! Episode 3 just dropped and it's one huge plot-twist to what The Mandalorian fans have come to expect from the series. The creative team behind the show, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, are known to deliver huge surprises in past seasons and fans can expect the same mind-blowing shockers with this new season.

The Mandalorian: Season 3, Episode 3 (Chapter 19: The Convert) starts with Mando (Pedro Pascal), Grogu and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) at the end of their journey to locate water on Mandalor so Mando may be forgiven for his transgressions and become a Mandalorian again. Surprisingly, this episode takes a turn and focuses more on Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) as he works in the New Republic trying to adapt to the new lifestyle while he is constantly asked questions about his life experiences. His plans of a new experiment were practically going to be destroyed, which impacts him a lot. At the same time, he is also joined by one of his coworkers, Elia Kane (Katy O'Brian), who also appears in "Episode 3."

I enjoyed the break in the series to learn more about Dr. Pershing. I look forward to seeing how this episode connects to the others and all the storytelling possibilities and characters that come from it. The special effects, character designs and the CGI universe continue to wow viewers. This episode is a little slower and less action-packed than the others since it focuses more on Dr. Pershing, but it is still entertaining. It still has intense fight and chase scenes. Fun fact: This is actually the longest episode in the entire series. The storytelling, though not what fans are used to, still takes you on a seamless journey from the previous episode.

This episode expands on the messages from the previous episodes and really touches on redemption and trust. Friendships are tested and true characters are revealed. Who people think are their friends may really not be in some cases and others are able to seek opportunities to redeem themselves and seek forgiveness.

The Mandalorian, Season 3: Episode 3 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. May the force be with you as you check out this eight-episode season currently running on Disney+, with new episodes every Wednesday.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR

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MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR - DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-12
Description - Based on Marvel's hit comic books, "Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur" follows the adventures of super-genius Lunella Lafayette and her 10-ton T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur, whom she accidentally brings into present-day New York City through a portal. Bolstered by Devil Dino's fierce loyalty and brawn and the loving support of her family and best friend Casey, Lunella sets out to make a difference and protect her beloved Lower East Side neighborhood.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Based on the comics of the same name, Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is a witty, realistic and charming animated series for all superhero lovers, young and old!

Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur follows Lunella Lafayette (Diamond White), 13-year-old genius, after she accidentally brings a dinosaur (Fred Tatasciore) to her home in present-day New York City via a self-made portal. With the dinosaur's help, they protect the Lower East side from harm, and become known as "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur."

This show is based on the hit comic books from Marvel. I love how each episode feels like a mini movie. There's so much attention to detail and each episode has a very focused storyline. This series isn't as intense or violent as other Marvel shows and films, so it is much more suitable for younger audiences. Even though Lunella is a super genius and has a pet dinosaur, the show is incredibly relatable. It's full of diverse characters, as well as a diverse cast and crew, and it highlights realistic things that would and could happen to a teenager living in New York City. The animation is dazzling. All of the colors pop and the designs for the characters and backgrounds are so vibrant. It looks like it's straight out of a comic book! I absolutely love the intro song, written and produced by Raphael Saadiq, and performed by Diamond White. It's so catchy and bubbly, and it really fits the vibe of the show. I also like the performances of Lunella and her family. Lunella is voiced by Diamond White, and she truly sounds just like a normal teenage girl. She, along with her family, are so hilarious as their characters have good comedic chemistry. My favorite character is Devil Dinosaur (Fred Tatasciore) because, even though he's a 10-ton dinosaur, he's so cute and loving towards Lunella.

The messages of this show are to use your gifts to help the world, and to help those who can't help themselves.

give Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. The first epis

ode of this show releases on the Disney Channel February 10, 2023 and will release on Disney+ shortly after.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur are ready to fight crime in the new animated series: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur! Based on the comic book of the same name, this show highlights the world of S.T.E.M. to young children and inspires learning more about it. Fans of the original comic book and other Marvel fans will love the new series as well.

Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur follows 13-year-old super-genius Lunella Lafayette (Diamond White), who one day--while helping bring power back to her town--accidentally makes a time portal and spawns a ten-ton red T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur (Fred Tatasciore), into present-day New York City. The duo works together on missions to protect the city's Lower East Side from danger.

I love how well the series connects to the actual comic book featuring the main characters Lunella and Devil Dinosaur. From the animation, the costumes, to the gadgets, everything relates to the original comic story. My favorite part of the series is when Lunella is fighting multiple villains in the episode. During that time she is constantly asked what her hero name is and she never is able to give an answer. That scene adds humor to the show and gives a bit of backstory on the title. It's incredible how Marvel is now incorporating a kids' animated series to the MCU. It's a great addition! The characters are extremely relatable in this series. Great detail is given to character development and design, even down to Lunella's goggles. I love the way different shapes appear in them based on what she's saying or on her emotions. This show is highly creative.

This series highlights the importance of friendship, acceptance, being yourself and using your strengths to do something great. In the series, even though the Devil Dinosaur randomly shows up and is a different species, Lunella is able to bond and become friends with it. She also gets teased because she is extremely intelligent. When she accepts her gifts and becomes Moon Girl, she is then able to be herself and use her tech-savvy talents to help save her community.

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 5-12, plus adults. You can watch the premiere of Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur on Disney Channel on February 10, 2023, and on Disney+ starting February 15, 2023.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MY BASKETBALL JOURNEY - YEAR 1
MY BASKETBALL JOURNEY - YEAR 1 - RICO KING
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 5-12
Description - This is a documentary about my journey to accomplishing my basketball dreams. From missing layups to winning a silver medal on my first team this is year one of my basketball journey.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I immensely enjoyed My Basketball Journey - Year 1. The story is so captivating that when it ended, I wanted more. The story follows a young boy named Malcolm chasing his basketball dreams. It is inspiring to watch someone chase their dreams, despite the many obstacles. For example, the boy starts his basketball career at the height of COVID and he and his family get stuck in a different country for six months which keeps him from being able to train and play. Witnessing the triumph over these adversities is motivating.

This student made documentary follows the one year journey of a young aspiring basketball star. From missing layups to winning a silver medal on his first team, this is year one of a boy's basketball journey.

Unlike the numerous documentaries that tell the story of sports' prodigies and how they made it to the top, this film offers a more realistic perspective that allows viewers to see a raw and transparent look into the highs and lows of reaching for success. This honest approach makes this documentary relatable and inspiring simultaneously. I enjoyed the storyline and how it develops. I appreciate how the story unfolds. It is organized chronologically and makes you feel as if you are there with Malcolm throughout his one year journey. Malcolm is the writer, director and star of this film and he is as charming a kid as they come - personable and considerate. Good use is made of video clips, showing him in younger days, to clips showing more advanced moves that demonstrate his athletic growth. The combination of older footage, blog-style camera work, voice-over, and professional shots all add up to a believable story. As a documentary, the character development is that of Malcolm's as we watch his athletic progression over the years.

The film's message is to keep preserving and never give up!

My Basketball Journey - Year 1 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. This is a perfect film for KIDS FIRST! It is motivational, especially someone who has big dreams or fears failure. It is both educational and inspiring. Plus, Malcolm is African American. By Hanadie K. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I immensely enjoyed My Basketball Journey - Year 1. The story is so captivating that when it ended, I wanted more. The story follows a young boy named Malcolm chasing his basketball dreams. It is inspiring to watch someone chase their dreams, despite the many obstacles. For example, the boy starts his basketball career at the height of COVID and he and his family get stuck in a different country for six months which keeps him from being able to train and play. Witnessing the triumph over these adversities is motivating.

This student made documentary follows the one year journey of a young aspiring basketball star. From missing layups to winning a silver medal on his first team, this is year one of a boy's basketball journey.

Unlike the numerous documentaries that tell the story of sports' prodigies and how they made it to the top, this film offers a more realistic perspective that allows viewers to see a raw and transparent look into the highs and lows of reaching for success. This honest approach makes this documentary relatable and inspiring simultaneously. I enjoyed the storyline and how it develops. I appreciate how the story unfolds. It is organized chronologically and makes you feel as if you are there with Malcolm throughout his one year journey. Malcolm is the writer, director and star of this film and he is as charming a kid as they come - personable and considerate. Good use is made of video clips, showing him in younger days, to clips showing more advanced moves that demonstrate his athletic growth. The combination of older footage, blog-style camera work, voice-over, and professional shots all add up to a believable story. As a documentary, the character development is that of Malcolm's as we watch his athletic progression over the years.

The film's message is to keep preserving and never give up!

My Basketball Journey - Year 1 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. This is a perfect film for KIDS FIRST! It is motivational, especially someone who has big dreams or fears failure. It is both educational and inspiring. Plus, Malcolm is African American. By Hanadie K. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SONIC PRIME

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SONIC PRIME
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SONIC PRIME - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-12
Description - It's the Sonic you know and love until an incredible twist thrusts Sonic into a new adventure featuring a reinvented cast and Sonic like you've never seen him before, where the fate of the multiverse rests in his gloved hands. Sonic's adventure is about more than a race to save the universe from the evil machinations of his longtime nemesis Dr. Eggman and his army of badnik robots, it's a race to save his friends, friends that he took for granted.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sonic Prime is an entertaining eight episode series with a lot of adventures, including traveling through different universes and meeting different versions of Sonic's friends. If you are a Sonic the Hedgehog fan or are looking for an enjoyable show to watch, check this out.

This series is about Sonic (Deven Mack Jr.), Tails (Ashleigh Ball), Amy Rose (Shannon Chan-Kent) and Knuckles (Adam Nurada) as they fight crime together to keep the town safe. As they are fighting Doctor Eggman (Brian Drummond), Sonic accidentally gets sent to a new universe, one where no one talks and no one knows who Sonic is, even though Sonic knows everyone there. Even in the new universe, it is up to Sonic to keep a new city safe.

I like how in almost every episode Sonic ends up in a new universe, every one of which is different. There is a universe where there are cavemen; a universe where there are pirates; and more. My favorite episode is episode seven, "It Takes One to No Place," because it's the most entertaining episode, ending with a great cliffhanger leading to the next episode. It made me want to continue watching more episodes. Watch out because you might not want to stop! My favorite character is Sonic, because he learns from his mistakes and he perseveres. These are great characteristics for anyone to have and it's why Sonic succeeds so much. Also Sonic is a really funny character and I like that.

The message of Sonic Prime is that mistakes can be fixed; you just have to fix them the right way. In the beginning, Sonic makes the mistake of not listening to people around him and he ends up in a parallel universe. He has to work with what he gets along the way and he fights to make it back to his universe. This show is very kid-friendly.

I give Sonic Prime 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Sonic Prime is available now on Netflix. Be sure to check it out!

Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Video game fanatics, does Netflix have a treat for you. If you value nostalgia in the form of binge spree TV series, sit back and prepare to catch some as Sonic rings in this new adventure-filled, action-packed, family-fun animated series. It's back to the 90s with as Sonic and some of Sega's most memorable console characters returning in the new series Sonic Prime where they travel about multiple universes trying to protect their home.

Sonic Prime takes viewers on a thrilling ride as they watch Sonic (Deven Mack) and his friends' trusted companions warp in and out of new universes to protect their home from the iniquitous Dr. Eggman (Brian Drummond). Sonic must advance through the Shattervierse into new terrifying dimensions to locate pieces of the shard of the Paradox Crystal. Prepare to be astonished as Sonic encounters various versions of his friends and new enemies, including Tails (Ashleigh Ball), Knuckles (Adam Nurada), Big the Cat (Iam Hanlin, Amy Rose (Shannon Chan-Kent) and Rogue (Kamuzi Evans). Sonic is determined to gather all the missing shards, so Tails can put them together and save them.

This eight-episode arcade-inspired remake is "to the brim" with speed and action. Sonic is known for his incomparable speed, ability to curl into a ball and use himself as a weapon, and his lionhearted personality. This CGI animated series does not neglect to include these notable unforgettable qualities in every episode. There are some genuinely magical otherworldly moments in this series; one being the sound effects. Memorable moments such as Sonic traveling to new universes or collecting his golden rings are amplified by high-quality sound effects. Some mind-blowing action moments accommodate the nature of this series as well. This is a fast-paced series; the camera work and animation bring this production together in a delightful way.

Sonic Prime offers a message of resilience and friendship. This series depicts the dedication of friends and the power of unity and Sonic and his friends make a great effort to save their world and protect others. While this series makes your head spin faster than Sonic himself, some people may be disappointed by the ending. If you despise cliffhangers, brace yourself.

I give Sonic Prime 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus loyal Sonic fans. This animated series is designed with game lovers in mind. Sonic Prime releases on Netflix on December 15, 2022.

By Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SANTA CLAUSES, THE

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SANTA CLAUSES, THE
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SANTA CLAUSES, THE - DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Scott Calvin is back! After being Santa Claus for nearly thirty years, he's as jolly as ever. But as Christmas declines in popularity, so does his Santa magic. Scott struggles to keep up with the demands of the job, as well as being there for his family. Upon discovering there is a way to retire from his post, Scott considers stepping down as Santa Claus and finding a worthy successor so that he can become a better father and husband.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Hang up the stockings; get out the cookies and milk, and say ho-ho-ho to The Santa Clauses! This is the perfect show to say hello to Christmas and the winter season. It proves that perseverance is everything and family matters most. This is a great way to bring up past Christmas classics, The Santa Clause 1, 2, and 3.

The show starts off with Santa himself, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) and his elf, Noel (Devin Bright), giving presents to loving children all over the world, but something goes wrong: Santa's magic starts malfunctioning. Almost a whole year goes by after the catastrophe and the magic is back to normal, but during a present delivery, another incident happens - something really bad. After all that mess, Scott realizes that he has to do the two things he has dreaded all 28 years of his career -- find a new Santa and retire. Scott tries to find a new Santa within his first son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd) and his other son, Buddy (Austin Kane), but neither seem interested, and it leaves Scott heartbroken and stressed over finding the perfect new Santa Claus.

The thought of Christmas and snow and everything that makes winter the "holiday season" absolutely delights me, which is why this show is perfect. My favorite parts are the amazing special effects used to enhance the magic of Christmas. I love when Scott and Noel are flying above all of the houses with the reindeer -- even if it is just a lot of greenscreen and wiring. It gives the perfect image of Santa Claus trying to make every child in the world happy and believe in the magic of Christmas. I also love how the director, Jason Winer, keeps the original characters, since we all like them. Scott "Santa Claus" Calvin is still the enjoyable, ambitious character he once was 28 years ago, and Charlie is still the spontaneous, kind young man he has been and always will be.

The message of this show is that family will always come first, no matter the situation. Scott Calvin has proven again and again that, even when Christmas is in danger, he always makes room for his family.

I give The Santa Clauses 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming on Disney+ November 16, 2022.

By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Santa Clauses is a perfect series to watch with your family during the holiday season. I loved its spin on classic songs and its message about taking time for family.

The story follows Santa Claus (Tim Allen) making serious decisions for the future of the holiday season when he feels his magic starting to fade away. Mrs Claus (Elizabeth Michell), who has been living in the North Pole for almost 30 years, sees an opportunity to start a normal life, back in the city around normal people, with her family including her two children, Cal (Austin Kane) and Sandra Calvin-Claus (Elizabeth Allan- Dick).

This series has a modern spin to classic songs, vivid colors, great humor and realistic special effects, which all combine to bring a classic holiday story to life in a refreshing new way. One of my favorite scenes is when Santa, with his big belly, tries to get into a house - watch and see the secrets of being Santa! Kids around the world love and believe in Santa Claus. One girl in particular, Grace Choksi (Rupali Redd) insists on telling her father, Simon Choksi (Kal Penn) that Santa Claus is real and has always helped her decorate the house during the most magical day of the year. On one Christmas Eve, Grace receives a present from Santa Claus, which makes her Father research the truth about the existence of Santa Claus. Kal Penn, a businessman, with lots of interesting ideas, wants to find ways to make his business successful and sees an opportunity when he looks at the sky and watches Santa flying across the sky on his sleigh. For our beloved Santa, understanding that it is time to find a replacement isn't easy but he certainly has fun watching the Elves take the challenge to help him. I can't wait to watch the next episode of The Santa Clauses!

The message of this series is that magic is real if you believe in it and, if it is time to take a break and focus on your life, health and family, don't think twice.

I give The Santa Clauses 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available at Disney+ beginning November 16, 2022.

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK

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TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK - NICKELODEON
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Description - A new species of Transformers must find their place and purpose among Autobots, Decepticons, and the human family who adopts them.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the series Transformers: Earthspark! It is an action-packed adventure with heartwarming friendships and strong family bonds that I enjoyed with my whole family.

Fans familiar with the Transformers franchise will enjoy the familiar characters and meet some new ones. Anyone new to Transformers will quickly become acquainted with their history while discovering the first bots born on Earth along with a brother and sister duo, Robby Malto (Sydney Mikayla) and Mo (Zion Broadnax), who share a unique bond. Robby and Mo recently moved from Philly to small town Witwicky where their mom, Dot Malto (Benni Latham) has taken a job as a park ranger and they have left their friends behind. When Robby, frustrated with his new life, decides to bike back to Philly, his sister Mo, who is never left out of his adventures, follows along. A strange encounter with Autobots and some unusual spiderbots has them tumbling off a bridge and discovering a secret cave. Their curiosity and sense of adventure lead them to forming a bond with the first earthborn bots, Twitch (Kathreen Khavari) and Thrash (Zeno Robinson) who they are emotionally connected to. Through some humorous activities and harrowing adventures Twitch and Trash become the vehicle bots that suit their personalities and are part of the Malto Family.

The production quality is superb with vivid animation and crisp colors; the images are so realistic. For example, the texture of Mo's hair looks real. The voice acting is excellent with each character distinct and believable. Robby is voiced by a female but sounds like a teen boy and when Mo and Robby take a tumble their grunts and groans sound believable. And of course, the action is exciting and explosive! When the Transformers click into action the battles are fast and furious. The sound effects really enrich the story and propel the action. The Autobots whirl and rev into their Transformer selves. In terms of the storyline, the amazing bond that Robby and Mo share is special, and the strength and determination of Mo is truly inspiring. It's so great to see a female protagonist take the lead. Another strong female character is Skywarp (Nicole Dubuc); she is smart, self-assured and fierce. There are old school favorites from previous films in the franchise like Optimus Prime (Alan Tudyk), Mr. Malto (Jon Jon Briones) and Bumblebee (Danny Pud) who I love seeing here.

The message in these episodes revolve around togetherness and learning to fit in. These episodes are sure to be great fun with the classic struggles with the Autobot Decepticons Transformers robots, the togetherness of the human Malto Family, and the first Transformers robots to be born on Earth - the Terrans, who are learning how they fit in.

I give Transformer: Earthspark 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Transformers: Earthspark premieres on Paramount + Friday, November 11, 2022.

Madeleine H. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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