Oh, Dino Squad. How much do I hate thee? I hate thee a whole damn lot. In general, I am very much pro-dinosaur and pro-dinosaur programming, but this show is edging closer and closer to the “Oh, sorry, Netflix is broken” level of I can’t watch this shit anymore right now. It’s getting the kid interested in dinosaurs, and he’s learning a few things, but it’s making me insane, and it’s all about me and we can’t have that.
We will start with the theme song:
You didn’t click that, so here are the lyrics:
in the dino squad
on a beautiful beach not far away
I went to visit for a day
got covered with some gooey ooze
that changed my DNA
Now I’m trying to act normal
Keep my cool
While other kids play after school
I turn into a prehistoric hero
in the Dino Squad!
I understand that complaining about suspension of disbelief and scientific inaccuracy in a kids’ show is a mug’s game. I’m a superhero guy. There are expensive superhero statues in the room with me and action figures on my desk. My disbelief is suspended from the firmament itself most of the time, but this show still breaks the hell out of it. So let me just lay this show out for you, and you tell me exactly when it gets to be too much. Here is what Dino Squad is about:
- A bunch of kids (high school students, old enough to drive motorcycles) go to the beach and get covered in ooze. They discover it has given them the ability to turn into dinosaurs. So far, I’m OK! This is basically Daredevil’s origin, right? Spider-Man got bitten by a radioactive spider. Gooey ooze. I’m good.
- They meet this old lady, whose name I can never remember, and she tells them they can turn into dinosaurs. She’s in this picture:
So, all right, still okay.
- The lady tells them that she is, herself, a dinosaur. She is, in fact, a velociraptor! A velociraptor who somehow avoided dying in the Chicxulub impact and “evolved” to be able to turn into a human being. You literally see the two velociraptors diving into a cave during the meteor strike.
- This is not how evolution works.
- Velociraptors were the size of turkeys and had feathers. If you saw one today, you’d think “Ooh, what a weird-looking bird!”. Cassowaries are considerably scarier-looking.
- Velociraptors died out ten million years before the Chicxulub impact.
- This means that she was already somehow ten million years old before that explosion, and therefore the oldest living thing on Earth, exceeded possibly only by the other immortal velociraptor, and is therefore…
- …currently 75 million years old.
But that’s Science Luther talking. Shut up, Science Luther! It’s a kid’s show! Okay. Like I said, eventually that line gets crossed. Maybe this is what does it:
- The other velociraptor is also still around, and is therefore also 75 million years old. He calls himself… wait for it… Victor Veloci.
- Victor Veloci’s evil plan is to occasionally turn rodents and fish into dinosaurs, but only a couple at a time. He’s insanely incompetent for a 75 million year old immortal dino-person. The two of them should literally rule the planet by now.
- You turn Victor Veloci’s dino-rodents or whatever back into regular rodents via a two-step process: 1) shooting them with a sprayer that causes the “dino DNA” to be sweated out of their skin, and 2) then– I am not joking– sucking the dino DNA up with a vacuum cleaner. This makes them better.
Has the suspension of disbelief gotten harder yet? Still need more? Okay. Here’s the kicker, then. This is Victor Veloci’s hair:
And, lest you think “Oh, he’s just long-haired, what’s the big deal?” let me show you another picture of Victor Veloci:
No, he only has long hair on one side. And that is an honest-to-God red streak dyed into his hair. His haircut, somehow, is the most ridiculous thing about the show.
Note also his minions, who are dressed like COBRA applicants who got rejected for dressing too ridiculously.
So, yeah. The show is about how this 75-million year old supervillain is routinely outwitted by a bunch of teenagers who can turn into dinosaurs. Note that Veloci himself can regain his velociraptor form at any time. (So can the old lady, presumably, although I don’t know if I’ve seen an episode where she does.)
And those teenagers? They’re… weird. Especially this one:
Now, again, these kids are in late high school, because they’re driving, but this one particularly– he turns into a pteranodon– keeps getting storylines that imply he is nine. This particular image is from an episode where he’s having problems with bullies. The bully’s name is McFinn, which is somehow much more ridiculous than it should be; it sounds really dumb anytime anyone says “McFinn” on the show, especially when they imply that this “McFinn” person is scary or tough. He’s just not. Plus, dude, you’re a dinosaur. Drop him off a cliff. There’s one right there by that lighthouse y’all are based in for some reason.
Now, I know, high school kids do have problems with bullies, and I’m not trying to minimize that. But the way they handle it is weirdly infantilizing, especially since they really do try to treat pteranodude like he’s a lot younger than the rest of them. He also gets an episode where Victor Veloci pretends to be a pretty girl in an MMORPG (75 million years old, people) and tries to get him to “break Internet safety rules” and tell her where he is so that Veloci can… do… something. I dunno. Underpants gnomes, profit. The high school students have technology sophisticated enough to detect two mutated dinosaurs three states over and this dude is trynna catfish over Xbox Live. I don’t get it. And mohawk dude is the only one who gets these storylines.
(Oh, and remember that “play after school” line from the theme song? Is that what high school kids do after school? They play?)
Here’s the transformation video. It plays six times an episode. If your kid watches this show, expect him to spend a lot of time yelling “65 million years back!” and “going into dino mode” when you need him to put on his shoes:
One (1) point is awarded to the show because the big black kid, who would be a football player on any other program, is actually the computer nerd. Other than that, I hate this show.