This new animated series embraces the silliness of its parent films while still capturing the same character-driven heart.
For a long time now, the Fast Franchise has been operating with a cartoon understanding of continuity, logic, and physics, so something like Fast & Furious: Spy Racers (Netflix) doesn’t just make a lot of sense — it feels like exactly what this series should have always been. Reimagined as eight twenty-odd-minute animated episodes focusing on Vin Diesel’s teenage cousin Tony Toretto (Tyler Posey) and his street-racing crew’s — Frostee (Luke Youngblood), Echo (Charlet Takahashi Chung), Cisco (Jorge Diaz), etc. — infiltration of a shadowy organization, this is what has always worked about the franchise taken to the flexible extremes of a new format. The balance of ludicrous action with family-first character drama is more or less the same, but without the pretense of seriousness that has always held the films back. It’ll almost certainly appeal to the established audience while probably enticing a new one, too.
Fast & Furious: Spy Racers earns that audience by flaunting its connection to the broader series but also striking out in its own direction and becoming its own thing. There’s an abundance of outlandish action but also smart character writing and the franchise’s trademark diversity — a refreshing feather in the cap of a show aimed primarily at children and younger teens. While the show’s ultimate ideology could use more fleshing out and a more concrete stance, those kinds of teething troubles are perhaps to be expected in such a brief first season. But if the mandate here was to ensnare an audience who might be susceptible to further explorations of these ideas, then mission accomplished in style.