Netflix UK TV review: Kid Cosmic
Ivan Radford | On 11, Apr 2021
“Everything cool?” “Yeah, just using my super powers to help Jill get her head back on and stuff.” That’s the sound of a new superhero landing on Netflix in the form of Kid Cosmic.
Kid (Jack Fisher) is a boy who dreams of being a hero and having special powers. So when a spaceship crash-lands in his remote desert town, and he discovers 5 Cosmic Stones of Power, his wish becomes a reality – but, as superhero stories have told us repeatedly for yonks, with powers come responsibility.
That’s the challenge facing any superhero film or series today – the genre has become so saturated that it’s hard to present that learning curve in a fresh, novel way. But Kid Cosmic does so with the kind of excited silliness that you’d expect from the creator of The Powerpuff Girls, and Craig McCracken’s script balances tried and tested genre tropes with a wonderful sense of childlike imagination.
And so, while the cosmic stones are just glued to metal nuts to make them into “cosmic rings”, the powers they convey actually do have an effect – even if the adults Kid don’t believe him at first. Living with his grandpa, Papa G, he’s considered an excitable oddball down at the local diner, but Jo (Amanda C Miller), the daughter of the diner’s owner, has enough heart to indulge him, and their unlikely friendship leads to her getting the second of the rings: the power of teleporting through portals (making her Portal Girl).
While Kid (who can fly) and Jo are getting to grips with their abilities, though, the rings are sending out a signal into the galaxy alerting others to their location – and so we begin with Stuck Chuck (Tom Kenny), a mean alien who ends up injured and spends his time hurling petty insults at Kid, while hoping to get his hands on the stones.
Also joining this rag-tag group of characters are Rosa (Lily Rose Silver), a toddler who steals a stone for herself. “Heroes don’t babysit,” sighs Kid, as he has to keep an eye on the littl ‘un and, by the time she’s growing into a big ‘un nicknamed Gigantic Girl, the ensuing 40-foot chaos teaches him a worthwhile lesson about thinking about others as well as himself.
That gentle moral message is at the heart of Kid Cosmic’s underlying charm, balancing such absurdity as a cat that can see the future (Fred Tatasciore) and Papa G (Keith Ferguson) becoming able to clone himself multiple times with Kid’s gradual understanding that being a hero isn’t what he thinks it means.
“You may not be my friend but I’m your friend,” says Jo early on, as she teams up with Kid, and there’s something beautifully simple in that statement of support. “Heroes help not hurt,” adds Papa G, dispensing wisdom to his grandson. Over 10 20-minute episodes that fly past with pace – and a charmingly old-school 2D animated style – the serialised plot builds on those sentiments to create a lovely bit of superhero storytelling that manages to deliver the scale of an extra-terrestrial battle with the simple fun of a boy and his friends running about and enjoying their abilities.
Kid Cosmic is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.