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

Fresh Beat Band of Spies

Fresh Beat Band of Spies

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TV Y

The Fresh Beat Band brand has been around since 2009 and the gang hasn't lost its groove but they have morphed into an animated band of spies in this animated spin-off for Nickelodeon.

Twist, Kiki, Shout and Marina still make music - but jam-sessions are frequently interrupted by cries for help that come through on their Secret Spy Watches. A gadget guy named Reed provides technical back-up and there's a cast of recurring townspeople and villains who factor into their missions. There's also a monkey. He helps Twist run a pet shop. Don't worry, it makes sense in the context of the Fresh Beat world.

In the episode "Singing Pirate," the Fresh Beats chase a villainous pirate who made off with the precious cat's-eye emerald. The mission includes a car chase with a high-tech van, a pirate ship, and a gigantic bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.

Another episode titled "Mummy Mayhem" does a little riff on one of Hollywood's most iconic adventurers, Indiana Jones. Actor Jerry O'Connell provides the voice for treasure hunter "Arizona Jones" and the Fresh Beats find themselves entangled in his efforts to locate an ancient Egyptian artifact.

The episodes all progress in the same general vein: Mission revealed, wackiness ensues, problem solved . . . and a few times in the course of things, the Fresh Beat kids will break out in song. There's some cartoon peril but no truly scary elements and segments are peppered with better-than-average scripts and clever sight-gags. With its wacky missions, offbeat human and animal characters, and sci-fantasy story elements, Fresh Beat Band of Spies has some of the flavor of old-school Scooby-Doo episodes. It's not breaking any new ground as a children's program but it's an amusing and tuneful half-hour when kids want to unwind with some lighthearted television entertainment.

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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