Thursday, December 26, 2013

Turbo F.A.S.T. races to NETFLIX

One of my son's favorite movies during the summer of 2013's blockbuster movie season was TURBO, the story of a snail who wants to be fast and thanks to a freak accident is transformed into a speedy racer who competes in the INDY 500.  This premise has been used by the Internet movie/television service NETFLIX in its bid to transform itself from a re-broadcaster of media content to an originator of premium programming, as it made available it's first original programming series targeted to children, TURBO F.A.S.T. on Christmas Eve.  NETFLIX made 5 (23 minute) episodes available to its subscribers on December 24, 2013 and additional new shows will be added to the site for streaming in 2014.
I watched the first episode with my 5 yr old son and daughter and they both really enjoyed it - enough that as soon as the show ended they yelled out "let's watch it again!"  The first show in this new animated series has Tito, Turbo's taco truck driving buddy, bring the racing snail home after a world wide promotional tour celebrating his win at Indy.  They are greeted by Kim Ly (voiced by comedian Ken Jeong - who voiced the character in the movie) as they return to the Starlight Plaza strip mall in a short skit which serves as a segue from the movie to the cartoon series. Tito takes Turbo to a "City" for bugs that he has created next to the dumpster behind the strip mall and lets the snail off into his new home.  That is the last scene with "humans" in it as the show focuses on Turbo's adventures in the Bug City as he is also joined by his snail family and friends from the movie - Chet, Burn, Whiplash, Skidmark & White Shadow.

Check out this clip from the new animated television series:

The animation for TURBO F.A.S.T. is refreshing in that it has a bright neon glow to it reminiscent of 80s Saturday Morning cartoons like Pacman and The Smurfs with a 2D flat hand-drawn retro feel versus the CGI three-dimensional let's try to make the cartoon look like "real life" approach that many other animated series are doing at the moment.  This is also a departure from the movie which was in a 3-D high tech animated format itself.  See the difference between a scene from the movie and a scene from the new tv show:

TURBO - the movie


Of course, the tv show has a focus on racing and the name of Turbo and his friend's team which starts off as Fast Action Race Team but they change during the course of the first show to Fast Action Stunt Team because they like the name FAST better than FART plus they do some superhero stunts making them more than just a "race" team.  Thus the name of the show TURBO F.A.S.T.  Many of characteristics of the show including the voices ( though voiced by different actors) of the snails are very similar - that may be in part because DREAMWORKS STUDIOS created both the original movie and is producing the cartoons for NETFLIX. 

You may think that with a show that focuses on snails racing and doing stunts it might be a boys themed cartoon, but the producers do a nice job making it enjoyable for both genders.  My daughter liked the show as much as my son.  One of the reasons she liked the show was they incorporated as one of the major characters a female race named BURN that my daughter really appreciated.  Another fun aspect of the show is that they give each snail a score card with video game type 1-10  rankings for various categories that they flash on the screen.  It gives the characters a little more personality plus the viewers an idea of what each snail may be better at when it comes to a race or an adventurous task.  For example, BURNS' score card gives her a ranking of 7 for SPEED, 8 for ACCELERATION and 10 for SASS.

All in all TURBO FAST is a fun ride of a show that I give a nod to for children's viewing.  The few episodes we've seen so far from the initial 5 released show a pattern of promoting a theme of teamwork, overcoming obstacles, and following your dreams.  Both the movie and tv show send the message it is OK to dream BIG, which I believe is a great thing to communicate to our youth.

For more information, visit:

Make way for the extreme team.
Join Turbo and his posse on the Turbo Fast Action Stunt Team.  Filled with outrageous comedy, action and laugh out loud fun, "Turbo FAST" amps up everything to the extreme: extreme adventures, extreme challenges, and extreme excitement.

This show is: Witty, Exciting
(Source: NETFLIX website) 

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