Don't let your kids watch the new WB show "Phantom Investigators" alone.... Why should they have all the fun?
This wildly inventive treat, beginning Saturday at 10:30 a.m., features kooky kid detectives with strange powers, supernatural mysteries and some of the most wonderfully weird animation to hit the small screen in a long time.
The pint-sized P.I.s are a quartet of San Francisco middle-schoolers: occult expert Daemona; Casey, a shy shape-shifter; laid-back, telekinetic Jericho; and telepathic Kira, the group's "psychic cell phone." Their mysterious mentor, Professor Navarro, rounds out the group, along with Jinxie, a fanged monster, and Wad, an overgrown, pink lump of living bubblegum.
In the first episode, angry tribal spirits threaten to sink a popular snob's birthday party with thunderous noise and poltergeist activities. Turns out the boy has a shaman's magical staff, and the shaman wants it back.
There's mild vulgarity--expect to hear the word "butt" more than once--yet this off-the-wall, funny-scary tale, with its pop-music beat, doesn't ooze attitude. Laudably, lessons about friendship, empathy and honor, plus a few educational tidbits, take precedence.
It's the unique combination of stop-motion puppetry, computer-generated imaging and live action, however, courtesy of creators Stephen Holman and Josephine Huang, that will keep viewers tuned in: the human characters with three-dimensional puppet bodies and flat, paper heads; spirits wackily portrayed by real actors, or modeled out of various substances; and those marvelously detailed miniature sets that almost steal the show.
"Phantom Investigators" can be seen Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. on the WB. The network has rated it TV-Y7 (may be inappropriate for children younger than 7).