The new animated show Spy Harriet is intended for teenagers [Apple TV+ review]

Jim Henson and Apple TV + have teamed up to revive spy Harriet, teenage Louise Fitzhugh who wants to help her friends and neighbors.

Maybe new animated series Harriet the Spy, which premieres today, to secure a fan base that other Apple TV + shows for kids have yet to acquire? And is there a way this show could be as big as the books that launched the series?

Harriet the Spy review of the first season

Harriet Welch (voice of Beanie Feldstein) is a girl who just can’t look after her business. Between living with her nanny Ole Golly (Jane Lynch), her friends Sport and Janie, her annoying parents and her archnemes (Lacey Chabert), Harriet notices everything in her New York neighborhood.

She sees when people have problems, when they are not fulfilling their potential or hiding their emotional lives. And he writes everything down in his notebook. Harriet calls herself a spy because she always sees things other people don’t see. And that makes it uniquely suitable for intervention when people need help and don’t know how to ask for it. (Although sometimes Harriet herself falls into that trap.)

Spies should not be caught

Will McRobb seems to be the main writer and creative force behind this series. McRobb’s is a name that every 90s kid knows. He c0 created The Adventures of Pete and Pete after hard work Rock’s modern life i Ren & Stimpy Show. He then helped create KaBlam!, which led him to a short career as a screenwriter (Angus, thong and perfect lubrication, The Story of Despereaux, Snow Day). And then he went back to the cult TV, where he now finds it.

Harriet the Spy owns part of the crazy energy of McRobb’s work on Nickelodeon, but also owes a milder price that aired on The Disney Channel or PBS at about the same time. It is a well-rounded show, tonally coherent and concise. Sometimes it seems like a more hyperactive approach to such Hey Arnold! (also located in Manhattan).

Obviously, McRobb isn’t the only creative here, though his touch is visible. Sidney Clifton (animated producer Black Panther 2010 show), Halle StanfordThe Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance) and Nancy Steingard (Pound Puppies) products, among many others.

Top-to-bottom fun

The resulting collaboration is lavishly fun, brilliantly drawn and beautifully acted out. Feldstein leads a group of voice actors in a very playful way in creating a lively kind of entertainment. (I don’t know how I feel when Feldstein got this gig because there’s a pretty public battle going on right now about giving famous people top-notch gigs compared to professional voice actors, but I’ll say she at least fulfills the task.)

If the new Apple TV + show for kids has a downside, it’s that its relaxed nature lacks the immediacy of some modern cartoons. (It also lacks the lively pastoral character of the 1996 film version Harriet the Spy, a relatively unannounced work today.)

Targeting teens

McRobb and Co. they are obviously trying to hit the demographics of teenagers by making Harriet and her friends aware of concerns about the popularity and impending responsibilities of adulthood without taking them too seriously. I like that the show isn’t too realistic. And I appreciate the effort put into making it a grrrl-type affair for young people. The theme song is Courtney Barnett, after all, was probably chosen by composer Anna Waronker from the alternative band That Dog from the 90s.

Feldstein herself rode the same wave on her other performances, as when she played music journalist Johanna Morrigan in How to build a girl, or less directly when she played Monica Lewinsky American Crime Story. She obviously challenges the accepted understanding of female characters and uses the 90s as a kind of lens through which the limiting definitions of femininity and femininity are seen. (See her order from the 90s Ladybird for further evidence).

Harriet the Spy it will probably go down in history as one of the milder efforts to achieve this goal, but it is worth it. And it’s one of the more fun and cohesive. Sometimes challenging the status quo can only mean surpassing a popular girl in school once.

Look Harriet the Spy on Apple TV +

Harriet the Spy premiered on Apple TV + on November 19th.

Rated: G

Look at: Apple TV +

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of a long-running series of video essays The Unloved for He wrote for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books i Nylon Magazine. He is the author Kinemaphagy: On the psychedelic classical form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at

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Naveen Kumar

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