Finding Carmen Sandiego & Not Letting Go

20 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Available on Netflix

If anybody ever asks who (instead of where on Earth) is Carmen Sandiego, then all I can say is she isn’t the Pink Panther. She’s more like Robin Hood, stealing from thieves to return the riches to where it should belong, the museum or the original owners. The attempts to capture her make these two franchises similar. Key to this comparison is Chase Divineaux, a bumbling French Interpol Agent intent on catching her. Not only are they revitalizing a beloved franchise but also they have a live action version in the works, which too stars Gina Rodriguez. She voices this character and gives enough joviality to make her the perfect choice to play the lead.

Additionally, this massive property is about teaching the world to youths. As viewers catch up with this elusive figure, they discover aspects of the country she recently popped up in. Not only does the style of adventures she winds up in has the feel of Kim Possible (including the character designs) but also the adversaries the heroine faces are straight out of Kill Bill. Thankfully, the talents involved in creating the series are not out to glorify violence or bloodshed. Some of the criminals being trained by VILE specialize in either one type of thievery or have a trademark weapon to use. Duane Capizzi (Transformers Prime) is the showrunner, and I’m fairly sure he is drawing from the Lupin the 3rd franchise for inspiration too.

Originally based on the 1985 video game, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, this latest media interpretation stays true to why the beloved series goes on. The history and geography lessons are overviews to encourage learning more about new cultures. Today’s generation of youths has smartphones and tablets at their disposal to hit up the electronic version of Encyclopedia Britannica to learn more. This series is not SmartTV (interactive) enhanced yet.

I enjoyed trying to catch her in the electronic front (games) and have fond memories of the DIC animation. Though following all of her exploits over the decades was not paramount, her mystique made knowing where she is going next a must. To see her cross-media platforms cemented her status as a pop culture icon, and her signature look—how can anyone not miss catching sight of her?

After leaving “masters” not only in who owned properties and the VILE organization, her independence showed how timeless she is. As a different version of Indiana Jones, the treasures she recovers should have the office of Egyptian Antiquity employ her full time. The number of plundered tombs are many and I have always wondered who has gained those items from centuries ago. They have to be in some private collection somewhere.

Many museums should hire people like Sandiego to find where these artifacts back. This Netflix series hints at a universe where these black market sales are getting way out of hand. Her allies prove themselves as more than simple help as they can track down where many valuable treasures have disappeared to. They are her eyes in the sky and are close friends. Nine episodes of twenty are currently available for viewing and my favourites so far include “Becoming Carmen Sandiego” and “The Opera in the Outback Caper.” No key points are missed in the latter where the story takes place in Australia. When all the world is the stage, I’m anxiously waiting for her to land in Egypt and Scotland. I doubt Oak Island will be included though to keep up with current mysteries would be amusing.

Hopefully, the wait is not long for the next batch of episodes. When Carmen is constantly on the move, the flow must not stagnate.

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