Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Producer: Amazon Studios
Network: TV G

This half-hour program for elementary-aged children premiered on Amazon Video in the summer of 2014 and it gives a charming sit-com treatment to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Annedroids blends live action with dynamic CGI animation and the result is a satisfying blend of educational content wrapped in an entertaining package.

Eleven year old Anne is the ultimate "maker," using junkyard parts to produce a few robots … who just happen to be her friends. Neighborhood kids Nick and Shania discovered Anne's secret in Season 1 of the series and now the humans, along with androids PAL, EYES and HANDS tinker, experiment, and learn together. While their adventures definitely fall into a sci-fantasty genre, the STEM concepts are real and cleverly built into storylines. For instance, in an episode titled Parent Swap, a mini-vehicle competition stipulates a thought-provoking twist: Create a vehicle that doesn't have wheels or wings. The group brainstorms possibilities and draws inspiration from everyday items to engineer an entry, but this story also weaves in interesting threads about family dynamics. Another episode, Undercover Pigeon, includes a guest appearance by real-life Canadian engineer and astronaut Julie Payette, who inspires Anne to learn more about the possibilities of space exploration and alien life.

Annedroids characters are likable and mostly avoid the usual traps of 'tween programming, such as narrowly-drawn stereotypes or going for cheap laughs and visual gags. Some of the adults are more caricature than character, but young Anne is a great role model for elementary-aged kids, not because she's a female involved in STEM (although that is a great bonus) but because she's curious, thoughtful, determined, and motivated to learn, and that's a message any kid can appreciate. With its exciting art direction, realistic dialogue, inventive storylines, and sound STEM education, Annedroids is great destination programming for families and even as an entertaining treat to augment classroom instruction.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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