The Hot Rocks Of Rio Caper, Part 1
The Hot Rocks Of Rio Caper, Part 2
The Daisho Caper
The Fashionista Caper
The Boston Tea Party Caper
The Need For Speed Caper
The Crackle Goes Kiwi Caper
The Stockholm Syndrome Caper
The African Ice Caper
The Deep Dive Caper
Based on the video game character of the same name, Carmen Sandiego’s first season dropped back in January this year, providing a surprising blend of educational content and fast-paced action. Accessible for both kids and adults alike, Carmen Sandiego hit that sweet spot many animated series of its kind strive for and was all the stronger for it.
With plenty of questions left dangling at the end of the first season, Carmen Sandiego returns for another 10 episodes of globe-trotting adventures, blending humour, nicely choreographed action and a continuing narrative interwoven throughout the stand-alone chapters.
Set a week after the events of the first season, Carmen Sandiego begins with a two-part episode in Rio De Janeiro as Carmen struggles to grapple with her past demons. With Agent Devineaux desperate to go after Carmen himself, the cat and mouse game between VILE and ACME resumes, with Shadowsan returning to the fray early on, joining Carmen and co. as they find themselves caught squarely in the middle of this conflict.
Following the opening two-parter, most of the episodes follow the same rigid structure as before, with individual episodes leading up to another dramatic finale that leaves things hanging on a cliffhanger ready for Season 3. From New Zealand and Dubai through to Boston and Milan, Carmen Sandiego continues its globe-trotting adventures, much to the benefit of the series.
Interestingly, the second season dives a lot deeper into Carmen’s inner-conflict around her family too and this certainly adds a lot more depth to the series. It ultimately makes this second season all the stronger and without spoiling anything, the final couple of episodes do dive into Carmen’s past and shed light on just who her parents are. Not only does it deepen Carmen’s character arc, all the other returning players this year are offered a generous amount to do, with Ivy and Zack initially playing off as comic relief until later in the series where they’re given unique tasks that help flesh their characters out
Much like the first season, Carmen Sandiego’s unique visual style continues here, with some lovely animation helping each scene to really pop. With the character models lacking a black outline, to avoid each from blending into the background, Carmen relies heavily on its colour scheme and it’s here the series excels. The shading is really well done too and each geographic location, from the chilly, snow-topped Stockholm through to the neon-lit streets of Tokyo, add another flavour to the series.
Once again there’s a great use of imaginative shots too, including the returning computer screens each episode that inject educational content from around the globe in a clever way. Whether it be carnivals in Rio, fashion in Milan or even Botswana’s economy, Carmen Sandiego uses all the same tricks and tips from the first season and carries them over here..
The musical score is just as good as it was the first time around too, with an organically changing, culturally-relevant set of instruments used for each country. While this isn’t quite as prominent later on in the series when things become more focused on the main narrative, it’s another subtle and clever element that keeps things interesting and because of this, each of Carmen’s adventures feel wholly original and exciting, despite adhering to that same rigid structure of the first season.
Carmen Sandiego offers more of the same here in this second season but it does so with enough flair and originality to make it one of the stronger animated titles on Netflix. I really enjoyed the first season and with deeper characterisation this time around and some surprisingly educational content, Carmen Sandiego is a strong animated title for kids and adults alike, and one I’m very much looking forward to seeing the third season of!
Verdict - 8/10