Spirit Riding Free, Season 3

(Dreamworks/Netflix)

 

Lucky is fighting to becoming Spirit’s rightful owner after Miz McDonnell buys him at an auction.

 

Starring: Amber Frank, Bailey Gambertoglio, Sydney Park

Genre: Cartoon, Adventure

Series summary: After moving from the city to a small western town, Lucky forms a special relationship with Spirit, a wild horse.

 

Episode Title: Lucky and the Long Way Home

 

Viewer Appeal: Ages 4-8, 8-12

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I was never into horses. Or farm animals. Or really anything of that sort. But after viewing the original Spirit movie, I spent a lot of my middle school years day-dreaming about the west. I wanted the adventurous, fast-paced life. So when I found the animated television series featuring the action-packed storyline of the original Spirit’s offspring, I was excited to share the experience with my daughters.

 

Worried about the adaptation from movie to television, I doubted the ability of Netflix and Dreamworks to create a captivating storyline over multiple episodes. But, I was wrong! I found the beginning of season 3 to be fresh and exciting. What I loved most was the reaction of my daughters. Our seven-year-old is the target demographic for this show: overly girl and always dreaming about horses. It captivated her. But what speaks the most of the universal lovability of this show is our nine-year-old's reaction. Unlike her sister, she currently abhors anything girly and doesn’t care for horses. While she still put on her “too-cool-for-school” act, the adventure immediately entranced her.

 

Season 3 opens up with Lucky traveling back West to purchase Spirit at the town auction. Unfortunately, her train gets delayed, and Miz McDonnell buys him first. Lucky and her gal pals, Pru and Abigail, travel to Miz’s ranch, pleading with her to have Spirit. Moved by Lucky’s bond with Spirit, Miz agrees to give Spirit back. Unfortunately, he escapes before Lucky can get to him. Will Lucky and her friends ever be able to find Spirit?

 

There are so many outstanding aspects of this show. The powerful young women that lead this series exemplify both courage and sensitivity. This series teaches young viewers to be bold, but not harsh which is an impactful message in today’s world. Also, the decision for Netflix and Dreamworks to partner up lends to a skillfully animated show. While it’s no Pixar movie, it blows most other computer-animated television shows out of the water.

 

But here’s the one problem with Spirit: Riding Free: it’s remarkably confusing when this series takes place. Lucky and her friends could be found in among any kids in 2017, while the rest of the world belongs in the 1850s. The girls wear jeans and stylish shirts, while the rest of the world is wearing top hats and prairie skirts. Is Lucky’s train to the west a coal-powered DeLorean in disguise? The world may never know.

 

Parents--I highly recommend this show to help teach positive values about genuine friendship and enjoying the adventures of life. Be aware that some moments overflow with suspense, although it’s quickly resolved. You’ll just want to make sure younger viewers can handle the intensity.

 

Let's Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this TV show:

 

• Have you ever lost something very important to you before? What did you do?

• Miz McDonnell understood how Lucky felt about losing her horse because she also lost a horse. Have you ever been able to help someone because you knew how they felt?

• Lucky’s friends Pru and Abigail are determined to help her. Who are your friends and what you do like about them?

--LV

 

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