“Lunatics” is not a “kid’s show”, but will be fairly “family-friendly”

I get these questions a lot, so I’m answering it here and including it in the FAQ:

Is Lunatics a “children’s cartoon”?

Is Lunatics okay for kids to watch?

(TL;DR version: “NO” and “PROBABLY, but with some qualifications”)

IMAGE: Georgiana Lerner in the “Kazbek-Compatible Child
Seat” for “No Children in Space”. The original Kazbek design won’t
accommodate someone as small as a 7-year-old child, so the International
Space Foundation had to commission a specially-engineered solution. Her
spacesuit is also custom (derived from a US design) and requires an
adapter (integrated into the seat) to interface with the Soyuz-SF
life-support system. (Couch model by Sathish Kumar, character model by
Andrew Pray).

Apparently in the USA, animation still has the
stigma of being targeted only at children. As an animation fan, I had
thought that after the “anime invasion” of the 1990s and 2000s that we’d
be past this, but I still get asked, so here’s my response:

is NOT “just for kids” nor even primarily for kids. The main target
audience is adults, and some of the humor (and drama) will probably require
an adult perspective to fully understand.

However, this is not to say that it’s not appropriate for kids — we’d like the show
to be accessible to all ages. We won’t dumb down any plots for this purpose, but
there will be plenty of material that kids will understand as well as anyone else, and of
course we do present Georgiana Lerner’s point of view along with the
others in order to put things into a child’s perspective. And a lot of
what we’re talking about is pretty universal.

So hopefully the stories won’t go “over the heads” of children so much that they can’t enjoy it.

As for whether it is appropriate for children in terms of “mature
content”, that’s likely to be a matter of some debate. Some parents are
very sensitive to things that we don’t consider important (or
appropriate) to shelter children from. So let me be a little more

  • VIOLENCE: Almost NONE. This is primarily a story
    about family life and so there’s a really very low “body count”,
    especially for the science-fiction genre. We do have some instances of
    people not being very nice to each other, and there is just ONE violent,
    accidental death in Season 1, and it’s not a main character who dies.
  • SEXUALITY: We have adult characters who act like adults.
    No. REALLY like adults. There are two stable marriages here with people
    who never cheat on their spouses and remain in love with each other. We
    also have some single people — one who dates and one who doesn’t. Some
    of the minor characters are divorced or living separately from spouses
    (“military marriages”) or in other situations. Adults have sexual
    relationships, and we’re not hiding that.
    Sorry. There’s probably a lot of this. Some of the things Tim gets up to
    are probably not good things to emulate. Hopefully this will be clear
    to most audiences, but we’re not censoring it.
  • ALCOHOL & DRUGS: Again, we have adults. Adults do some of these things. Our
    principal characters don’t use drugs most people consider “illicit”.
    They do consume some alcohol, though not to excess. Other characters may
    have different sensibilities, and we won’t be censoring this to
    “protect” the audience.
  • LANGUAGE: Adults cuss sometimes. In our
    show, the main adults are parents themselves and have the habit of
    trying not to cuss in front of their children. However, they may do so
    when they think their children aren’t listening or when they are very
    stressed. We’re not going to censor this, either, because we feel it
    would detract from the realism (and sometimes the humor). However, these
    are not the kind of people who use harsh language all the time. Other
    characters may be less careful, according to their personality and
    environment. (Okay, look: there’s an occasional “F-bomb” in the dialog
    in later episodes, but this doesn’t happen often).

Also, regarding the language specifically, there is a neat solution, which we are probably going to use:

The original soundtrack for Lunatics will be “true language”. This means,
for example, that if a Russian character speaks to another Russian
character, that dialog will be voiced in Russian and we’ll add subtitles
for English-speaking viewers. This already creates a problem for some
younger viewers (and dyslexic adults) who may be uncomfortable keeping
up with subtitles.

So, we are probably going to also record “English-only” versions of those scenes.
These will be included on a second soundtrack. And while we’re at it, we’ll probably
tone down any offensive language on that track so that it’s truly “all audiences”. I’m
hoping this will satisfy any parents who are uncomfortable with their
kids hearing this kind of language — and I don’t want kids to not be able to see the show just because of this issue.

We are not, however, going to pretend that what is obviously vodka on screen is “mineral water” as some anime dubs have done!

Adults who don’t want to have the dialog “watered down” can listen to the “true language” track
— I think this is a neat way to serve both audiences.

Other language dubs should be similarly “single-language”, and I’d recommend
they follow the same pattern. There’s probably going to be one in
Spanish, contributed as a “fan dub” by an allied project that we’re
already in contact with. I don’t know about other languages yet.

With the possible exception of language, there won’t be anything here that
wouldn’t have been aired on network TV over the last 20 years or so, and
certainly nothing that would violate cable TV standards. If you let
your kids watch Star Trek or Buffy the Vampire Slayer then they’ve
probably already seen worse than they’ll see in Lunatics.
So, IN MY OPINION, it’s pretty kid safe.

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Terry Hancock is the director and producer of "Lunatics!" and the founder for "Lunatics Project" and the associated "Film Freedom" Project. Misskey (Professional/Director Account) Mastodon (Personal Account)