‘Carmen Sandiego’ takes both a trip across the world and down memory lane

Where in the world is the lady in red? Right now she’s exactly what we need on Netflix

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Gina Rodriguez voices the newest interpretation of the classic Carmen Sandiego character. 

Courtesy Wikipedia

“Carmen Sandiego,” the more story-based and cinematic reboot of the classic 1994 cartoon “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?” sheds new light on the titular thief. In the new animated series, the backstory of both Carmen Sandiego (Gina Rodriguez) and V.I.L.E., Villains’ International League of Evil, is shown in great detail, giving the show a new story and a life of its own. However, viewers of the old show may find that although some aspects are the same, others have changed drastically.

For starters, Carmen is shown to be the good guy of the story, cast in a Robin Hood-esque light. In the original show, Carmen was the leader of V.I.L.E, and the show centered around her thefts, as well as the attempts of the two sibling detectives Zack and Ivy to catch her. In the reboot, however, the two are Carmen’s sidekicks, helping her on her heists. Another huge change is the addition of Player (Finn Wolfhard), who is Carmen’s closest friend and an elite hacker. The crew is tracked by A.C.M.E.,  Agency to Classify and Monitor Evildoers, whose main agents are new characters Chase Devineaux and Julia Argent. The characters are fun enough to cater to Netflix’s child audience, while also allowing Netflix to explore the world of edutainment.

Keeping with the style of the old shows and games, “Carmen Sandiego” makes sure to brief the viewer on every place featured. From food to famous cities to historical context, the show tries to not only deliver a plot but also a lot of information. It manages to do an acceptable job, although the information seems a little forced and occasionally has little to do with the actual plot. The characters are also a weak spot — Zack’s and Ivy’s only defining features are their Boston accents. The voice acting from both Rodriguez and Wolfhard is also a little dry at first, but as the series progresses they slowly fall into their roles, making the whole experience a lot more interesting. The art style is also gorgeous, allowing for many visual effects to not only shine, but help the whole show look exquisite.

However, a show like “Carmen Sandiego” is appropriate for the current social climate. A strong, smart, Hispanic role model is both desirable and necessary to see in our modern media, especially with the current political climate. Having kids learn more about the world around them is also a great idea, as many people don’t know or care to know about countries and cultures outside their own. 

The show has had bumps in the road in terms of voice acting and character development, but it has great potential to be the next hit kids’ show. “Carmen Sandiego” may not have been the extreme nostalgia trip many people wanted, but perhaps it is the show that current and future generations need.

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