You can stream Annedroids on Amazon Prime now! Just for the record, this isn’t even a paid promotion. I just really, really want this show to succeed. Check out the video or read the transcript below, and become a patron of mine on Patreon to get access to extended interviews with the cast and crew!
Annedroids is a new kids’ TV show premiering today on Amazon Prime. I’ve seen the first episode plus I had the chance to talk to the creator and stars, and I’ve come up with 5 reasons why you should check it out, whether you’re a kid or not.
1. It has serious girl power!
The main character is a little girl genius who builds androids and teaches her friends scientific concepts while occasionally blowing things up. Here’s Addison Holley talking about what it was like auditioning as Anne:
When I auditioned for this role it was a lot different because I’m used to playing the young sister and the precocious little girl and this was a lot different because Ann is a genius – she’s a genius scientist, and she’s kind of a little girl that acts like a 30-year old and she acts older than her age. I find it a challenge sometimes with the words I have to say but as I read the script, I learn things about science.
2. It shows that anyone can do science!
Here’s co-star Jadiel Dowlin talking about how the show can help change the way kids think about science and who uses science:
It’s been about the white males always being the scientific geniuses. What I like about the show is that there really is something for everything. Anne is a girl – the main character, the genius is a girl. Then you see that a minority like me is playing someone who’s interested in that, which is really cool. Then you have a surprise character who maybe isn’t as interested in school, like Shania, gets interested in science. Zach, one of Nick’s friends, both his parents are gay. It shows that different people can be introduced to the science world and this show is recommended for everyone, whether your guardian is a grandparent, or you have a single mom or dad, that’s okay. We’ll accept you.
3. It doesn’t talk down to kids!
Too many kids’ shows underestimate their sophistication and their interest in complicated topics, like how we build up our own identity. Annedroids doesn’t shy from this in the least, as you can tell from the introduction of PAL, an android who is neither a boy nor a girl. Here’s Matt Bishop, Founding Partner and Head of Animation:
When we were designing PAL what we did is we took the proportions of an 8-year old boy and 8-year old girl on top of each other we kind of modeled areas to attempt to mimic it because PAL hasn’t decided what gender it wants to go with.
I asked Addison which gender she thinks PAL is going to end up choosing:
I don’t think PAL wants to be a girl or a boy. PAL likes being PAL, and I don’t think PAL thinks PAL has to be a certain gender to do certain things. I think PAL just likes being a PAL and can do anything!
4. It has messy science!
And I don’t just mean the explosions. Annedroids shows science as a sometimes messy process where occasionally your experiment “fails,” but that’s okay! In the very first episode, Anne teaches her friends what a hypothesis is. When her hypothesis fails, she points out that that’s the best part, because now she gets to come up with a new, better hypothesis. This surprisingly accurate view of what science is is reflected in the set, which is a junkyard full of cobbled together bits of machinery that elevate function over form. Here’s series creator J.J. Johnson talking about the design aesthetic:
It’s utilitarian. She finds she needs to build an observatory and she knows it needs to rotate, so there’s an old carousel and she retrofits it. She would never have done that to have a carousel. That’s just a means to an end for her. All the designs are misshapen and broken but they fully work. Her clothes are ripped and self-made, and I love that. She doesn’t care what people think, which is a great thing.
5. It has some pretty sweet CGI!
Johnson says he wanted the show to be grounded in reality, which is why it’s live action instead of animated. But the CGI androids help kids understand that anything can happen. Here’s Matt Bishop, Founding Partner and Head of Animation showing off LIDAR, LIDAR: Light image detection and ranging, a sophisticated way to make a detailed 3D model of the set so that the CGI androids can cast shadows in the right direction and move in realistic ways. I took a tour of the set, met a lot of the people who work on this show, and I have to say that I was completely blown away by how passionate they were about getting this show off the ground and getting it on TV, despite pressure from traditional networks who had loads of concerns about things like the possibility of kids imitating “dangerous” experiments, or even just the mere idea that the lead genius scientist could be a girl. Johnson told me:
In the US it was a challenge – we had a lot of pushback, and really about Anne. We were lucky at the time that we had a lot of shows going, so I was angry enough that I decided we just won’t make the show, or we’ll find an int’l coalition to do it. and we did. eventually Germany came on, SVT, which is Sweden, and we started to head into production that way. It took the creation of a whole new network that wanted to take a risk, as if that’s a risky proposition, and they were hung ho for it.
So, I really want this show to succeed. If you have kids and you want them to get interested in science and technology and the joy of making things, please head to Amazon Prime and watch Annedroids. If you don’t have kids but you want to support this kind of educational and entertaining programming? Go to Amazon Prime and watch Annedroids. I promise it’s at least as entertaining as The Real Housewives of Wherever, and it’s about 1000x as intellectually stimulating, even if you already know what a hypothesis is. Thanks to Amazon for taking a chance on an awesome show. Let’s hope Annedroids succeeds and encourages more networks to fund series like this. All photos taken by Adam Isaak.