Archives for July 10, 2021

The Mighty Ones: Season 2 * Fun and Colorful, Nice Mix of Hidden Educational Messages

The adventures of a gang of tiny creatures — a pebble, a strawberry, a twig and a leaf — who are best friends and live in a terribly unkempt backyard belonging to a trio of equally unkempt humans. This band of diminutive heroes calls themselves the Mighty Ones, and while they may be the smallest things in the yard, they’re determined to live big lives.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Our favorite mighty tiny creatures – Very Berry, Leaf, Twig and Rocksy –  are back for a new round of adventures in The Mighty Ones Season 2. This animated series is fun and colorful, with a nice mix of hidden educational messages. Each episode presents an obstacle for the Mighty Ones crew, which they usually create themselves, but they always find a way to get out of it.” See her full review below.

The Mighty Ones: Season 2
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Series Critic, Age 10

Our favorite mighty tiny creatures – Very Berry, Leaf, Twig and Rocksy –  are back for a new round of adventures in The Mighty Ones Season 2. This animated series is fun and colorful, with a nice mix of hidden educational messages. Each episode presents an obstacle for the Mighty Ones crew, which they usually create themselves, but they always find a way to get out of it. This series is very bubbly and enjoyable!

The Mighty Ones is about a group of four friends: Very Berry (Alex Cazares), Twig (Josh Brener), Leaf (Jimmy Tatro) and Rocksy (Jessica McKenna). They live in a messy backyard of humans that they call giants or gods. The messiness makes for great new adventures on every path. While they are the smallest things in the yard, there is no obstacle they can’t overcome because they always work together and have each other’s backs.

The main characters are Very Berry, a fun and adventurous strawberry; Leaf, a laid-back and cool leaf; Twig, a smart and nervous stick; and Rocksy, a considerate pebble, who is also the group leader. I love how each character has huge goals and its own personality. My favorite scene is from the “Home Touchers” episode when Rocksy is trapped in the humans’ house. Kensington (Janina Gavankar), one of the “giants,” is listening to a podcast about murderous ghosts. The show describes the signs of a ghost being in the house and, each time Twig and Berry make that exact noise to capture Rocky’s attention, it scares Kensington.

The message of The Mighty Ones is to trust your friends because they have your best interest at heart and you can do more together than alone. There is also a hidden message throughout the series about how humans affect the lives of other living things. The “Mighty Ones” are affected by all the things the humans keep in their backyard, which correlates to how humans affect climate change and the lives of other species.

I give The Mighty Ones 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 12. You can find Season 2streaming on Peacock and Hulu beginning July 1, 2021.

The Genius Generation * A Deep Dive Into Young People With a Passion for Activism and Change

The Genius Generation podcast is a deep-dive into one incredible invention, entrepreneurial pursuit, or discovery per episode and the young person behind it. Did you know that the trampoline was invented by a 16-year-old? That popsicles, snowmobiles, and even the Braille language were also invented by young people? This podcast talks to innovative kids, tweens, and teens that run their own businesses, made a new discovery, or invented something new using science. The host, Danni Washington, a science communicator who is dedicated to inspiring and educating youth about all things science, is just as excited to interview these innovators and be inspired by them as the interviewees. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C. comments, “Trax has done it again! The Genius Generation is a podcast about young people with a passion for activism and change. Dani Washington is a great host with a lovely voice. Her willingness, as an adult, to listen to these teens innovators makes this podcast worth the listen. Avalon N. adds, “I like the variety of kids and inventions that are featured in this show. There is usually a “big world” problem that the youth inventor has heard about that has motivated them. In each episode, similar questions are used in the interview such as, “What kept you motivated? How did you find out about the problem?” Apurva S., wraps it up with, “The Genius Generation has one message throughout – kids can do anything. It is in the title itself. Youth have a voice and we should use it.” See their full reviews and host interview below.

The Genius Generation
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Trax has done it again! The Genius Generation is a podcast about young people with a passion for activism and change.

Each episode of this podcast shares the story of a tween or teen about their innovative ideas and inventions to change the world. Questions for each episode are very similar; however, different stories are shared with completely different responses.

Dani Washington is a great host with a lovely voice. Her willingness, as an adult, to listen to these teens innovators makes this podcast worth the listen. And I cannot forget the guests themselves. These teens and tweens are such an inspiration; not only with their ideas, but their contagious drive to purse their ideas to the fullest. My favorite episode is “Avi Schiffman,” about an 18-year-old web developer who created a website platform for convenient and up-to-date information about the coronavirus.

The message of The Genius Generation is expressed by almost all of the guests – pursue your passion; don’t be afraid to fail; and most importantly, take initiative for things you care about. Because you never know, maybe you will be the next guest on this show. This podcast is inspirational, educational and promotes positive social behaviors.

I give The Genius Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. You can listen to it on www.trax.fm/the-genius-generation.

The Genius Generation 

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Genius Generation is a very inventive podcast. It showcases so many different kids and ideas. This is a very inspiring podcast that can help motivate kids to want to make changes in the world.


This podcast is about kids under age 18 that have created something that helps everyone. They usually are asked questions about their barriers, their breakthrough or their creative process. There are six episodes so far, plus a trailer. This podcast talks about so many cool ideas and inventions. The interviewer for the series is Danny Washington.

I like the variety of kids and inventions that are featured in this show. There is usually a “big world” problem that the youth inventor has heard about that has motivated them. In each episode similar questions are used in the interview such as, “What kept you motivated? How did you find out about the problem? What were the barriers and breakthroughs you experiences?” All the inventions are based around science. This is really special, because kids create things to help the world in ways that adults don’t even try. For example, Ananya Sridhar invented a new, affordable way to test for lead contamination in water. Neil Suri invented a completely new, affordable way to detect forest fires. Anisha Musti created a new technique to detect Parkinson’s disease based solely on the sound of a person’s voice.  The show is well produced with cool sound effects. Each episode starts with a quote by the person featured in that episode.

The message of this show is that anyone can change the world and, no matter how young you are, you can make a difference. 

I give The Genius Generation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18, plus adults. You can find this podcast on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/the-genius-generation


The Genius Generation
Apurva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

This podcast makes me feel amazing; like I can do anything. That’s just one reason why I love it so much. It is filled with inspiring quotes such as: “I don’t hope for the best, I work for it.” “If I’m not making a connection with the piece, I feel like, ‘what’s the point?’ ”

The series is about kids who make big changes in the world. There are many stories in this podcast – a new one for each episode. In one of the episodes, a girl named Luna Abadia talks about her experience studying abroad in Japan. There, she saw firsthand all the effects of climate change and comments, “I am fighting for all those around the world that are affected by climate change.” Her story continues as her organization, ECAP (Effective Climate Action Project) fights to stop the continuing effects of climate change.

Some of the impressive things about this podcast are the clarity of the voices, the sound effects and, most of all, the stories. Each and every story finds some way to hook you in. There are many components that contribute to making this podcast interesting. Two of the main factors are the background music and the sound effects, which are particularly outstanding. An example is when Luna talks about how she got hooked into science in school and we hear a school bell in the background that takes you there. Another time, we hear the sound of metal clinking when Luna mentions a microscope. Another amazing thing about this podcast is the narrator, Danni Washington. She asks relevant and thoughtful questions and speaks with a clear voice.

The Genius Generation has one message throughout – kids can do anything. It is in the title itself. Youth have a voice and we should use it.

I give The Genius Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. This podcast can be found on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/the-genius-generation

Fathom * Outstanding Documentary Showing How Awesome the Ocean Really Is

Directed and photographed by Drew Xanthopoulos (The Sensitives), Fathom follows Dr. Ellen Garland and Dr. Michelle Fournet, two scientists focused on the study of humpback whale songs and social communication. As they embark on parallel research journeys on opposite sides of the world, they seek to better understand whale culture and communication. The documentary film uniquely reveals a deep commitment and reverence to the scientific process and the universal human need to seek answers about the world around us. From hypothesis to groundbreaking experiences in the field, Fathom showcases the passion, curiosity, collaboration, perseverance and work it takes for leading scientists to make scientific discoveries.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Samantha B. comments, “Fathom is an outstanding documentary that shows how interesting and awesome oceanography really is. One of the many things that makes this film great is the cinematography; it captures the beautiful ocean setting in a way that makes you feel as if you are there.” See her full review and her interview with the director below.

Fathom

By Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Fathom is an outstanding documentary that shows how interesting and awesome oceanography really is. One of the many things that makes this film great is the cinematography; it captures the beautiful ocean setting in a way that makes you feel as if you are there. Another aspect I enjoyed are the scientists. These women are incredible at what they do and at explaining it to non-scientists. I love two female scientists are featured because they are extremely underrepresented in this field of work.

The storyline follows two female scientists on a boat testing their hypotheses about whale communication. One of them, Dr. Ellen Garland, is answering her question about how far whale communication can travel. The second scientist, Dr. Michelle Fournet, is studying the whale’s woop – a distinct type of call that is “almost as if the whale is saying, ‘hey.’” Fathom not only focuses on the scientists’ work life, but also their personal interactions with the team, their families, and just being goofy people.

One of my favorite parts is when Dr. Fournet manages to accomplish her goal of tracking 30 whales in two weeks while also caring for her team. I love that Dr. Garland, as a feminist, talks about how hard it is to show weakness as a woman in a male-dominated line of work. The scenes with Dr. Fournet and her crew on their boat in the middle of the ocean are captured so perfectly, from the lighting to the rich colors of the ocean. It makes me want to be there.  When Dr. Fournet describes how dangerous this job is, it shows what these scientists are willing to risk to increase our knowledge about these beautiful whales.

The message of this film is about feminism; it is a recurring theme and is talked about a lot. These female scientists are great role models, especially for young girls who may be interested in science. This film promotes positive behavior, education and perseverance.

I give Fathom 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 plus adults. Fathom premieres on Apple TV+ June 25, 2021.