Having a beloved character make the jump from books to TV or movies is always a risky move. Sometimes what makes a character work in writing simply does not translate on screen, leaving fans disappointed and underwhelmed. Fortunately, if your kid is one of the millions who has fallen in love with the Llama Llama book series, they will most likely be just as obsessed with the new Llama Llama show on Netflix. The brand new series, an adaptation of the New York Times bestselling book franchise by Anna Dewdney, captures the cheerful, lightly educational tone that made the book so beloved.
Like the books, Llama Llama tells the story of a young llama named, well, Llama Llama, who never fails to find the joy in any given situation. Llama enjoys spending time with his mother (Jennifer Garner), friends, and pretty much anyone else with whom happens to cross paths. In terms of plot, the show tends to avoid any real conflict. Because none of the characters have any flaws, there are no misunderstandings and nobody ever miscommunicates. You’re just kind of watching these anthropomorphic animals exist happily together. In the first episode, Llama Llama has to build a scooter for a race, which he very easily does thanks to some help from his mom and grandpa, who he loves dearly. How do I know? Because he tells them both several times over the course of the 15-minute minisode.
On the day of the race, Llama and his best friend Nelly are neck-to-neck as they head to the finish line. Do they even consider giving into their competitive spirit? Of course not. Instead, they compliment each other on how well they are doing; when Nelly ends up winning, Llama offers his sincere congratulations. Mama Llama is about to tell her son that having fun is more important than winning but it’s an unnecessary lesson: Llama already knows that no trophy could ever mean more to him than true friendship.
On another one of his non-adventures, Llama Llama loses his tooth, so he and Mama retrace his steps to try and find it. Along the way, everyone in town drops what they are doing to help him search for it. Even the local police officer happily sets aside his sworn duty to protect and serve to help. Not one person hesitates to lend a hand and when they still haven’t found the tooth by the end of the day, they all immediately agree to continue searching tomorrow. Every single person in this universe is genuinely concerned.
So, the stakes could not be any lower. This could be a problem if all of the characters were not so damn pleasant. The show exists in a utopia fueled by kindness and friendship, where no lessons need to be taught or learned because everyone is already perfect in every conceivable way. These characters do not have to choose between right and wrong, as everyone is naturally programmed to be kind to each other and never let their selfish desires get in the way of anyone else’s happiness.
Most shows that lack any real stakes or conflict would be unimaginably boring and saccharine, but like the beloved book series, the show is so earnest in its positivity that it’s impossible not to be won over by the end of the episode. Obviously, the show was made for very young kids, so those who are no longer interested in the books are unlikely to be won over by the small-screen adaptation. But if your child is in the Llama sweet spot, and you’re looking for a friendly distraction for them, there’s a good chance you just found their new favorite show.