What to watch with your kids: ‘Pinocchio’ and more

Zippy series has a few scares, but mostly whole-family fun.

Cars on the Road” follows Cars franchise-favorite characters Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) and Mater the Tow Truck (Larry the Cable Guy) as they take an epic cross-country road trip to the wedding of Mater’s sister. They have lots of adventures and mishaps along the way — crashes, run-ins with dinosaur-like monster trucks with big teeth, etc. — but they always come out okay. One episode set in a haunted house has some spooky stuff, including jump scares, ghosts and references to real horror movies like “The Shining” (kids may not get those references, but they’re still creepy). Beyond that, these short episodes are a fun pick for whole-family viewing. (Nine 22-minute episodes)

Available on Disney Plus.

Barbie: Mermaid Power (TV-Y)

Sweet animated musical promotes friendship, acceptance.

Barbie: Mermaid Power” is an animated musical in the Barbie movie franchise. It follows Malibu Barbie (voiced by America Young), her sisters and Brooklyn Barbie (Tatiana Varria) as they transform into mermaids and learn how to wield their mermaid powers and prepare for the once-every-100-years Mermaid Moon. Animated violence includes characters bullying and speaking unkindly to one another. Two mermaid characters are sometimes boastful and rude to younger mermaids, as well as to the visiting “land dwellers” who are different from them. There’s brief peril when an underwater vehicle begins to break down and flood. Expect clear, strong messages about acceptance and finding your talents. One character was born without a tail fin and has a “fin difference.” She’s strong-willed and shares how she doesn’t want people to treat her differently. Characters also learn that it’s important to take care of the planet. (65 minutes)

Frequent peril in live-action/CGI version of classic tale.

Pinocchio” is a bit more intense than the animated classic (which itself has some fairly dark moments). Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) is kidnapped, imprisoned, nearly turned into a donkey and swallowed by a sea monster. One beloved character appears to die in one scene, and other characters are tossed around, threatened, hit over the head, captured and locked up, set on fire, teased, chased by the sea monster and enslaved. Some of the situations, evil characters and bad behavior could prove upsetting for younger or more sensitive viewers. But the messages are solid: Pinocchio must learn to follow his conscience; distinguish right from wrong; resist temptation; and prove himself brave, honest and unselfish. His maker/dad, Geppetto (Tom Hanks), and his minder, Jiminy Cricket (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), already model these qualities. There are quite a lot of taunts (like “stupid,” “loser,” “idiot,” “jerk” and more) and some teasing. Other language includes “jackass,” “h-e-double hockey sticks,” “bollocks,” “blimey” and “crock.” (105 minutes)

Available on Disney Plus.

Welcome to Wrexham (TV-MA)

Feel-good reality show is a sports underdog tale.

Welcome to Wrexham” is a reality show about a low-level football (soccer to Americans) team in Wrexham, Wales. It’s been purchased by celebrities Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who have an eye toward improving the team’s chances. Strong messages of optimism, perseverance and teamwork prevail, and the overall tone is light and positive. Players and owners alike are shown pulling together for a common goal, and they are supportive of one another. Language and cursing includes “f—,” “s—,” “hell” and British expressions such as “t–s up” (a failure). We see participants drinking in social situations (i.e., at a pub), and frequently see logos and other imagery associated with various sports teams. This uplifting show is suitable for whole-family viewing, if the unbleeped cursing is not an issue for your family. (Eight half-hour episodes)

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsense.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.

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