Carmen Sandiego the TV series is based on the video game series with the same name by the Broderbund company. And wait till you hear this! It was first released in 1985! Wowzer, this is a classic. In a way, that explains the impressive effort poured into this TV series. The colour palette is one of a kind with the animation as snappy as any American animation there is. All in all, it felt like a stylish Phantom Thief series with a carefully written plot progression. Unlike Saturday American cartoons like Kim Possible or Totally Spies, each episode progresses carefully with more mystery uncovered, answering back to the goals set in the first 2 episode. It’s an opening that I really appreciate, the type that literally titles the episode as “Becoming Carmen Sandiego” Part 1 and 2. Soon after these two episodes, the story kicks in with Carmen conducting heists per episode in every part of the world.
Since the show is for kids (7+ and above, according to Netflix rating), there were some parts that ARE meant to be educational. For example, each episode opens up to have the heist team in a new location on the globe. They’ll give a short explanation on the country, their local specialities and what these heists will save. I appreciate that they did Indonesia correctly and in detail too. The dialogues aren’t too deep and are relatively short in length, but I honestly think it’s good enough even for teens to enjoy. In fact, I wasn’t so sure this is for 7+ kids (Netflix rating) since the animation is really good and the plot is enjoyable as it is. Kids nowadays have it good!
So what is Carmen Sandiego about? To keep it short, Carmen Sandiego is not our protagonist’s real name. It’s her code name! She is an orphan brought up by VILE, an evil organisation dedicated to committing crime globally. Donning a red coat and hat as Carmen Sandiego, her ultimate goal is to stop any and every crime VILE cooks up with her trusty sidekicks.
I call Carmen Sandiego a Phantom Thief in my head but decided against it since the summary is pegging her as Robin Hood instead. But honestly, look at her design!
All in all
I haven’t dipped my toes in Season 2 yet, but I know for sure Season 3 is coming soon. Fantastic. I always loved these Robin Hood/Phantom Thieves show. I personally consider this show a thieving series done right. It’s perfect for those after-work nights to wind down and enjoy the wild ride of Carmen Sandiego’s capers.