Care Bears and Cousins, a CGI-animated series from American Greetings Entertainment, gave Netflix a heartwarming hug on November 6 with tales of sharing and caring that breathe new life into the classic Care Bears brand. Amy Keating Rogers has penned six adventurous tales through the Forest of Feelings with just the right dose of action, comedy, suspense, and drama to keep preschoolers hooked.
Just like the name suggests, Care Bears and Cousins is a series about the classic bears—Grumpy, Cheer, Wonder, Share, Tender, Harmony, and Funshine—and welcomes their Cousins (animals stylized in the Classic Care Bear look)—Brave Heart Lion, Bright Heart Raccoon, Cozy Heart Penguin, and Lotsa Heart Elephant. Each Cousin has a unique personality and a special emotive power that is marked by his or her belly badge.
The series will take kids to Care-a-Lot, the home of the Care Bears, overflowing with scenic destinations like Funshine Island, the Isle of Music, Share’s Treehouse, and Adventure Beach. In the first episodes, the Cousins travel home to Care-a-Lot, where they must prevent the colorful home of the Care Bears from falling apart by collecting straggling Care Hearts, uploading them to the Share Cloud, and keeping the Care-o-meter brimming to the max.
Care Hearts are created every time deeds of kindness, loving, and sharing are completed. They look like colorful butterflies fluttering about, but they often go astray when creatures like the self-obsessed Beastly forget that love grows through sharing. Beastly sometimes hordes the Care Hearts like a manic kleptomaniac, and the Cousins must fight through Beastly’s scheming ways, show faith in each other by working as a team, exhibit bravery by fighting all odds, combine old wisdom with new technology, and always–above all else–stay positive, to emerge victorious. Each 22-minute episode: Take Heart, Return to Tender, The Bright Stuff, The Share Shack, Belly Badge, and Wonder’s Heart carries a new message of love that propels the series forward.
Care Bears and Cousins takes inspiration from the way kids speak by teasing the dialogues into cute witticisms using fun wordplay, like the cry, “Hold onto your hip hearts” every time the bears embark on a new mission. Wonder Bear even cries out that she has a “bellybadge bellyache” when she gets a stomach ache. The series also uses tech-inspired words that make sense in the digital world of today, such as the Share Cloud or when the Wonder Bear commands the Share Cloud as if she were using Siri on an iPhone.
The series teaches kids to value their feelings and not trample on those of others through the bears, each of which represents a different emotion. In a manner similar to Pete Docter’s film Inside Out, negative emotions like grumpiness are also celebrated, because as long as the heart is in the right place, any Care Bear can save the day. The Cousins, on the other hand, inspire kids to be adventurous and brave like Brave Heart Lion, but also inspire them to be ingenious like Bright Heart Raccoon.
Kids are sure to lap up the animated world of Care-a-Lot with its rainbows, fluffy clouds, and colorful Care Hearts. In the words of Funshine Bear, “the visuals are (indeed) spectacular!”