A Disappointing Continuation
This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.
One of the most extraordinary films you will see this year. Take that as you want.
Miles from Tomorrowland was a great show. It was a fun outer space romp about the Callistos, a family who lived and worked together in outer space for the Tomorrowland Transportation Authority (TTA), a governmental organization akin to the Federation in Star Trek. The family consists of Captain Phoebe Callisto, mother and commander of their ship, the Stellosphere; Leo Callisto, father and ship's pilot/engineer; older sister and resident brain Loretta Callisto, and finally the titular character, Miles. Part of what made the show great was that the family dynamic of the series was routed in reality. Miles is an ordinary kid. He loves to play video games, ride his blastboard (hoverboard) and play with his best friend Merc (a robotic pet ostrich). Like all kids, he makes mistakes. He clashes with his sister (although they generally get along well), he "accidentally" makes messes and breaks things, he tries to get out of chores. You know, normal kid stuff. But he's good-hearted, loyal, and does his best to try to help when he can.Of course, as normal a kid as Miles is, he does live on a spaceship, which leads to plenty of adventures. Miles, despite being the main character, doesn't always save the day. The family always comes together to solve any problem or overcome any challenge. The family was always at the core of each story. There is the occasional villain, but often they are on missions of discovery, rescue or even diplomacy. Woven throughout is the mysterious Builders, an ancient and highly advanced race of peace-loving aliens who left cryptic and mysterious clues about themselves across the galaxy. The stories were exciting, engaging and even occasionally educational. It was the kind of show where you didn't mind watching with your kid because you enjoyed it too. Fast forward to season three. Miles and his sister are both entering the TTA academy, which makes no sense because Loretta is like two years older than Miles and at least five years ahead of him educationally. The siblings are joined with their friends Blodger Blopp, Mirandos, and Haruna Kitumba. While on a training mission they manage to save a runaway starship from crashing into a colony. As such, the TTA decides that these prepubescent tweens should form Mission Force One- the TTA's first line of defense against the heretofore unheard of Nemesystems- a nefarious agency determined to steal all of the tech in the universe. Miles is given command of their new ship, and each team member is given a new color-coded spacesuit and a new specialized skill. (In other words, they look like the Power Rangers.) The parents are gone, and these unsupervised children are left to their own devices in the TTA's most advanced starship.They've completely changed everything that made the first two seasons so great. Miles isn't the ordinary kid he used to be. He's a infallible super-captain who always saves the day. The family dynamic is gone; Loretta always seems to follow his lead without having any opinions of her own. They've turned a great family adventure show and turned it into a hollow action movie of a Disney show. Maybe they can turn it around, but I doubt it.
My 3-year-old daughter and I discovered "Miles from Tomorrowland" towards the end of its first season, and it has become a huge favorite in our household. The production values are incredibly high, it's educational without being pedantic, the CGI space effects are gorgeous--even the musical score is pretty amazing. It's a perfect example of a show that's made with kids in mind, yet doesn't talk down to them. I don't know that I've ever seen an animated children's show operating at quite this level.The show is about a futuristic family traveling the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, whose mission is to "connect the galaxy." One of the things I appreciate about it is that there are healthy role models for everyone in the family. Phoebe, the mom, is the ship's captain, with the best mission success record in the TTA; Leo, the dad, is the ship's engineer, highly respected in his field; Loretta, the older sister, is a computer coding genius; and Miles, the younger brother, contributes to the family's missions with his creativity and enthusiasm. The family's robot ostrich, Merc, provides comic relief. It's very much an ensemble show, and the main characters display a healthy family dynamic. In addition, the family's interactions with other alien races model how to relate to others who are different from us.I also love the show's optimistic view of the future, something that's sorely missing in science fiction in general these days. It captures something of the spirit of "Star Trek" in this sense, with a view of a future where humanity has overcome its basic social problems and is starting to expand out into the galaxy. Also like "Star Trek," the show has a good mix of real-world science and technology alongside more speculative things like faster-than-light travel. The stories are simple (it is a kids' show, after all) but well-constructed, and cover some cool sci-fi concepts; there have even been a couple of season-long story arcs. Recurring characters voiced by the likes of Mark Hamill, Bill Nye, Jonathan Frakes, Wil Wheaton, and Whoopi Goldberg are a fun addition for parents as well.My daughter loves the show, and I think I enjoy it almost as much as she does. If you're a sci-fi fan, this is the perfect show to watch with your kids!