“Carmen Sandiego” is over. “Hilda” is still waiting to be greenlit for a third season. Yet amongst this chaos, a new hero emerges to fill the void left behind. I am, of course, talking about “Kid Cosmic”. Created by Craig McCracken who also worked on Disney’s “Wander Over Yonder”, this new series takes the Sci-Fi genre in a familiar but creative direction. So let’s take a look at this incredibly fun Sci-Fi adventure!
The Story Begins…
“Kid Cosmic” is an incredibly clever show that manages to subvert expectations and make old tropes feel fresh again. It captures the wonder of being a kid again and wanting nothing more than for something exciting to happen in your hometown. For Kid, this wish comes true when he discovers five stones of power in the aftermath of a spaceship crash. Kid wants to believe that the stones hold some sort of magic powers that will help him become a superhero just like the ones in his comics. After all, they did fall from space. Quickly, he and a ragtag team of local citizens learn to harness their new abilities as they fight off alien threats that wish to have the stones for themselves.
Art and Design
It’s nice to see so many animated shows trying out different art styles. “Kid Cosmic” is a love letter to everything we loved about comic books in the 80’s and even sci-fi art from the 50’s. From catchphrases, tropes, and most importantly the art style. The way this show has its characters move down to the way the world is drawn complement each other. Even the characters and the backgrounds feel like they belong within the pages of the latest indie webcomic.
“Kid Cosmic” has many themes and elements that add to its Sci-Fi vibe. Even the setting takes place in a very Roswell-like desert. It’s this really small and secluded desert town where nothing happens. Which is ironically the perfect place for something alien to happen. There are only a small handful of locations we get to see. However, the designs for each of these locations such as Jo’s Diner, Papa G’s Junkyard, and Rosa’s Mansion are all iconic and memorable. I would compare this to how “Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends” is instantly recognizable by its appearance.
Asides from locations, you can tell that they had fun with the alien designs for this show. Although the show focuses on two specific species the most, there are plenty of other aliens that make an appearance during the first season. There are the classic flying saucers, tentacle monsters, and giant robots reminiscent of alien designs from the ’50s. There are also other more contemporary designs that have similarities to films such as “Alien” and “Attack the Block“.
At its heart, “Kid Cosmic” is a children’s show but like many children’s shows over the past decade, it has plenty to offer for adults as well. It’s well written, and the characters are incredibly likable with plenty of funny and heartwarming moments. There are also plenty of references to older media which any sci-fi nerd will find just delightful.
“Kid Cosmic” is one of those shows where you sometimes know exactly what will happen before it does. These tropes such as “Villain Redeems themselves”, or “ The hero has a tragic backstory” are quite common. Normally, being predictable can hurt a story if done wrong. Luckily “Kid Cosmic” is not only self-aware about redoing tropes but uses that knowledge to subvert them at times. It treats this self-awareness as a source for comedic moments and choices. It’s not just the writers who understand this but also our main character. After all, he’s the one who has spent years reading comic books and using them as a guideline for the kind of hero he wants to be.
“Kid Cosmic” also handles its comedy very well. It knows exactly when to hold on to a joke, when to suddenly bring it back into play, and just how far to go without getting too dark. It’s a kid show that knows how to handle its more somber moments without letting it get in the way of its lightheartedness.
Flaws? Perhaps One…..
No show is without its flaws. Even from such talented creators. While “Kid Cosmic” is a fantastic addition to Netflix’s line, it does feel a bit rushed in terms of pacing. The story feels like it was written as a film rather than a series. So it needs to pick and choose what to focus on most. Season 1 focuses mainly on Kid and Jo while only briefly touching upon the other members of the team. For a feature-length film, this isn’t a terrible choice. “Into The Spiderverse” focused mainly on Miles Morales and Peter B Parker and it pays off. However, for a show you would normally have more space to give each individual character an episode to shine or be the center focus of the story building.
“Kid Cosmic” has a way of dealing with this flaw though. So you won’t really feel it the first time you watch the episodes. Once all the members of the team are established, the following episode pulls a montage of the various alien threats that show up to claim the stones. We get brief glimpses of each scenario and how each character except for Kid manages to save the day at least once. Preferably we would get a few more standalone episodes where the characters each try to master their powers. However, the execution for this sequence is not only entertaining but also important for Kid’s character development.
Comedy is used to make up for the other character’s shortcomings. “Kid Cosmic“, despite focusing on only two characters the most, manages to make the rest of the cast just as entertaining. Papa G’s powers are hilariously dark when you really think about it and the scenarios you can get into when you give a 4-year-old girl the ability to become a giant are on point. Did I mention the cat which can see into the future and meows to alert our heroes of danger?
“Kid Cosmic” is a show you don’t want to miss out on. If you’re a sci-fi nerd or just love comics then you’ll enjoy what the show has to offer. The good news is that two more seasons are already in production with a clear direction for where and what we’ll be seeing next. Will we see the rest of the cast get more focus? Will our heroes will be able to fight off evil and save the day? We’ll be sure to find out next time on… “Kid Cosmic“