* Some spoilers ahead
Though many people remember the elusive miss Carmen Sandiego, few will know more than a couple key details about her: she travels the world, and she’s a master thief. In previous iterations of the iconic character she was the villain, but in the recent Netflix reboot staring Gina Rodriguez, she becomes our hero.
Well, she was a villain, but then she decides to use her skills for good and becomes a sort of robin hood of precious art and jewels, stealing them to protect them from being stolen, all while spewing witty quips at her chasers. She’s definetely got a way with words, so much so that she frequently freezes her assailants in their tracks.
She’s also aged down quite a bit and her sidekicks are fellow kids. These changes are unsurprising, and while it’s not a bad way to reintroduce this character I must say I was disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see her play the big bad guy. But really, this is a small complaint because we do still get to see her spy skills and Interpol still believe she’s a criminal. This is, after all, a children’s show, and it seemed an easier route to make her the hero.
The show has the geographic & cultural education value that Carmen Sandiego is known for — each episode is set in a different city across the globe, and throughout their mission they spew facts about the place and the people. This feels a little shoehorned in at times, I think they could have done a better job of weaving it into the narrative, which is an arcing story that progresses over 10 episodes.
Staring alongside Rodriguez is Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard. Wolfhard voices Sandiego’s closest ally, a tech super genius code-named “Player,” who does everything from track GPS and hack security systems to buy plane tickets for Carmen’s next adventure.
Overall I was pretty impressed with this reboot — it has a solid story, stunning animation, a great cast, and Carmen is a fantastic lead character. I think kids can really get behind this story and learn something along the way. I like the wanderlust it inspires, and it’s a refreshing twist on a classic tale.
Carmen Sandiego is now streaming on Netflix.
Final Score: A-