Netflix Original: Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?


How many of you all remember Carmen Sandiego? She is title character known to be a thief extraordinaire who elusively escapes the hand of justice while detectives are hot on her tail. All while we somehow learn obscure facts about parts of the world and history.

The Carmen Sandiego franchise was a major part of edutainment (educational-entertainment) in my childhood. There was a reboot of the video game series in 2015, titled "Carmen Sandiego Returns," which did pretty well and garnered several good reviews. While the video games were all well and good, I really enjoyed the television show.

"Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?", the television show, was wildly popular due to the popularity of the video games. It's no surprise that Netflix took the opportunity to reboot the series (especially after the popularity of their reboot "The Magic School Bus Rides Again").

As someone who actually enjoys watching children shows that are wholesome and entertaining, this reboot it really well done.

The first thing that surprised me about the show was how aesthetic the art style is. The style features clean lines and pronounced colors, reminiscent of cartoons from the 90s and early 2000s. It's a very likable and simple art style, with an appeal for adults and children.

The second thing to enjoy about the show is the change of the title character, Carmen. In all previous outputs of the franchise, Carmen has always been an adult woman of unknown ethnicity who is villainous, conceited and has a plethora of henchmen at her back and call. The Netflix Original has changed her into a character with a past, personality, and relatability. Instead of creating her as the typical thief, the writers have chosen to create her as a more Robin Hood-esque character. She is also much younger, maybe sixteen or seventeen, if that. By creating a story told from the perspective of Carmen, a new layer of interest is added to the story and keeps the reboot fresh.

The third, but not final, thing to enjoy about the show is the appearance of characters from the original show. While their roles are slightly different, Ivy, Zack, and Player all play central roles in the episodic adventures. They originally stood on a united front against Carmen's antics but they now all stand on the same side against a greater evil force— V.I.L.E.— a corporation that trains and enables thieves. (This does happen in the Earth series as it progresses but is by far less interesting than what Netflix has endeavored to achieve. Even Chief is not forgotten and is way less annoying. The reappearance of these characters lends the show a sense of familiarity.

Overall, the show is very well done, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to brush up on geography or simply wants some light entertainment.