I’ll admit that when I started watching the Fast and the Furious Cartoon on Netflix it was purely for ironic reasons. However, somewhere between watching episodes 2 and 3, I realized something that I would never have expected even if I had Dominic Torretto’s Car Detective Vision—This show is pretty good and I was legitimately enjoying myself!
Check out the trailer below:
Okay let’s cut to the chase. The premise of Dreamworks’ Fast and The Furious: Spy Racers goes a little something like this: Tony Torreto, Dominic Toretto’s teen cousin,and his motley crew of racers, gets recruited by a shadowy government agency to investigate a series of supercar thefts by a terrorist organization/street racing crew called SH1FT3R. Yep, that’s with both a “1” AND a “3” for vowels. Are you with me so far? Good because it gets even crazier: The supercars all have high-tech codes that unlock a powerful weapon that SH1FT3R can use to bring the entire world to its knees. THE CARS ARE KEYS TO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. If you had any doubts that Spy Racers belongs in the Fast and the Furious universe, there’s your answer.
Here’s Exhibit B:
However, despite how ludicrous (heh), that starting premise is, Spy Racers draws you in with some genuine heart and charm, I daresay even more so than the movies ever have. There’s a lot to like about the show. For starters, the writing is phenomenal. It exudes a razor-sharp wit and self-aware charm at every quarter mile. Being both a Fast and The Furious product and a cartoon, the show can get a little trope-y however, the writing always seems to be on top of it and manages to present many familiar tropes in a fresh new way.
At the heart of it all, is the endearing and refreshingly diverse cast of characters led by the aforementioned Tony Torretto, a headstrong teen street racer with a fierce loyalty for his friends toppled only by his overly competitive nature. Among his crew is the nerdy whiz kid Frostee, ever-so-smooth mechanic Echo and the oafish but weirdly insightful Cisco. There’s also Layla Gray who serves as both a friend and foe to our heroes and shares a fierce competitive rivalry with Tony.
On the subject of diversity, I absolutely adore that Spy Racers does it in the most nonchalant way possible. Almost all of the show’s main characters are from different races and are people of color but the show never really calls attention to that fact or puts it in our faces. There’s even a subtle moment where a character is revealed to have two mothers, but again Spy Racers doesn’t spin its tires on this fact, it simply states it in stride with pride. It’s just the way it is, these are simply just the choices of the show, no big deal.
Acting as the crew’s government liaison and handler is Ms. Nowhere, played by Renee Elise Goldsberry of Hamilton game, who’s easily the best character in the show. Despite playing up the no-frills government type, Ms. Nowhere’s multitude of little quirks make her, all too human and normal. In one amazing segment, we see her give a briefing to our heroes through a monitor as she is power walking in place with no explanation. Before hanging up, she grouses something about “…<no one’s> outstepping me in office fitness challenge” in a moment of ridiculous mundanity. Her banter with her right-hand man, Gary is also some of the show’s most hilarious moments, questioning the concept of “hanging up” despite being on a video call as a dated term, and the pair’s Bad Parent/Understanding Parent moments are all Grade A comedic gold.
On the other side of the race track, we have Shashi Dhar, the devious and charismatic leader of SH1FT3R. Shashi is capable, brilliant, and will stop at nothing to attain his goals. Without delving too much into spoiler territory, suffice it to say that Shashi’s story arc is actually quite compelling and serves as one of the most emotional moments in the show.
On top of all that, each of the show’s bite-sized adventures are also structured as subtle homages to popular Fast and The Furious moments but with a fun little twist to spice things up. There’s the mine canyon run from Fast and the Furious 4 but reimagined to include Speed Racer style power-ups. There’s also a tribute to the desert trailer truck heist where the gang has to hijack an energy drink truck to settle a bet and the Tokyo Drift mountain run just to name a few.
After watching all eight episodes of Fast and the Furious: Spy Racers, I can genuinely say that I really enjoyed my time with it. There are many tiny little details and touches that reveal that there’s a lot of genuine love and thought put into this show and I wish there was more of it to consume. Spy Racers is everything you expect a Fast and the Furious cartoon to be—ridiculous set pieces, exhilarating over-the-top action, crazy car-related story elements, all anchored with heart, charm, and wit— and yet is somehow better than anyone would ever imagine. It’s a crazy wild thrill ride that’s fun for the whole familia. Everyone should definitely take it for a test drive.
Will you promise to check it out? Let us know in the comments below! For more geek culture coverage stuff check out Five Local Comic Books You Should Be Reading Now and 5 Ridiculous Monstrosities Disguised As Videogame Controllers
And while you’re at it leave us a like on the GG Network Facebook Page so we can keep you entertained with more videogames and geek stuff! Take care and stay safe out there!
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