Genre: Science Fiction
TV Rating: NR
Other Choices: The Hunger Games, Falling Skies, Blade Runner
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: Tom Hanks-backed web series explores a violent dystopia.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that know that while Electric City is an online animated series, it's targeted more toward adults than kids or even young teens. The five-minute episodes are jam packed with mature themes, like political revolution, torture, totalitarianism, and sudden graphic violence -- including neck-snapping and blood. There are also a few scenes where adult characters are shown drinking together or lighting up a cigarette.
- Families can talk about each character's motivation. What makes a person who he is -- his past or something essential inside?
- Does the series have a stance on what's right and wrong?
- What's the appeal of dystopian stories? Can you think of others in movies, TV, or literature? What makes a successful dystopian story?
What's the story?
In the future, humanity lives in a grim society where the most valuable resource is electricity. Sheltered from the harsh outside world this ELECTRIC CITY requires the contribution of every citizen in order to survive, and freedoms such as open communication, trading, and traveling have been outlawed by the city's leaders simply known as the "Knitting Society." As rebellion against them becomes more frequent, Cleveland Carr (voiced by Tom Hanks), a grid agent, is hired by the Knitting Society to extinguish anyone who breaks the city's laws.
Is it any good?
Electric City has a unique look and feel along with a well-conceived dystopian world that makes it compelling to watch. While the violence can be jarring, it serves the purpose of illustrating how dangerous and grim this future society has become. As the seeds of rebellion spread, viewers are challenged to take sides, but with fleshed out and likeable characters on both sides, it's easy to become involved in their struggles, and less easy to distinguish right from wrong.Unfortunately, the limitation of five-minute episodes can sometimes mean events are so compressed it's difficult to follow the story without rewatching key scenes. Cleveland Carr, while an interesting character, takes a while to develop and, at least initially, takes a backseat to some of the supporting characters such as Hope Chatsworth (Jean Tripplehorn) or Roger Moore (Tara Sands). Ultimately this thought-provoking web series targeted at mature science fiction fans is worth a watch.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The plot explores the relationship between power and control, freedom and sacrifice in a way that comments on the roles of government and humanity as a whole.
Role Models: In the beginning, Carr is a hired assassin and far from role model material, but as the story develops he begins to question his actions and struggles with right or wrong.
What to watch out for
Violence Carr goes after his targets with ferocity, snapping necks, shooting, and even blowing up a building killing the people inside. The killing is graphic and scenes sometimes linger on gruesome images. The violence isn't nonstop, but the calm surrounding the brutality makes it more jarring.
Sex: Some flirting and romance.
Language: Occasional language: "s--t," "damn," and "bitch."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Some characters share alcoholic beverages together and a few characters are seen smoking.