Ages: 5 - 12Producer: Activision Blizzard Studios

Spyromania, the first episode in the Skylanders Academy series, focuses on attendees Spyro the Dragon, Eruptor, and Stealth Elf. Intended for children ages 5 – 12, the conflicts involve kid-friendly peril such as a villain who uses evil music to transform concert-goers into zombie-like drones; and a magic spell that goes awry and turns Master Eon’s beard (the source of his magical power) into Kaos’ new hairdo.

The soon-to-be graduates are coming up on final exams, but overconfident and egotistical Spyro throws a party for his classmates. Unfortunately a very partied-out Spyro sleeps through his final exams, meaning he won’t graduate with his friends. But when the town’s arch-villain Kaos sneaks into the Academy and freezes all of the Skylanders except Spyro, the dragon sees his chance to battle evil and redeem himself. In the episodes that follow, Spyro and his friends perform their duties to protect their land but they discover that Academy training is one thing but battling villains in the real world is another thing entirely. They rely on the teachings from Master Eon and Jet-Vac, but they also must use their own wits – and overcome their own weaknesses – to get the job done.

For the battles between good and evil, the tone of the show is good-natured and appropriate for young elementary-aged children. The animated characters are bright and lively and they’re made even more appealing by the high-quality voice talents that bring them to life: Justin Long, Jason Ritter, Ashley Tisdale, Norm Macdonald, and Bobcat Goldthwait, among others, lending nuance and enthusiasm to scripts that are otherwise adventurous but unsurprising.

Based on the wildly popular “Skylanders” toys-to-life action video game, Skylanders Academy is a fun little treat. It focuses on teamwork, responsibility, and managing ego, and it does so with highly amusing art direction and energetic characters and dialogue.

Gina Catanzarite ©2018 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.