Children attempting amateur detecting in their neighbourhood is nothing new. But it’s a concept that remains fun.
The genre is perhaps most popular in literature, especially Enid Blyton’s classic works The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and The Five Find-Outers And Dog. These three volumes revolve around a group of friends who come together and somehow stumble upon a mystery, with every book.
It is the same concept that is presented in a new Australian series, The Inbestigators.
The main characters here, four 10-year-olds, detail their cases via vlogs, while doing something useful like making origami or eating cupcakes. It’s all very adorable.
The 10-part series kicks off with friends Ezra (Aston Droomer), Ava (Abby Bergman) and Kyle (Jamil Smyth-Secka) getting a new classmate, Maudie (Anna Cooke).
As it turns out, young Maudie is quite an observant child and is able to solve puzzles quickly. On her first day at school, she solves a mystery, saving Ezra from getting into big trouble with the headmaster.
The four of them then decide to start a detective agency, operating from Ezra’s parents’ guest house.
Together, they solve cute little mysteries that occur either at school or around their neighbourhood, like figuring out who stole one of their classmates’ school projects or why their neighbour’s parcels keep disappearing after delivery to her front door, or how Kyle could lose in a 100m race when he’s a champion in that category (yes, this is a legit mystery!).
Most of the time, it is Maudie who solves the mystery. But you know, everyone tries to help in their own way.
The Inbestigators writers know how to create a combination that works even when the kids’ personalities are quite stereotypical.
Maudie is a know-it-all, Ezra is a geek who’s into gadgets, Kyle is a jock who absolutely loves all kinds of sports and Ava is quite zany.
But at no point do we get irritated with them like we might be if the same personalities were planted on teenage roles. If anything, we are more swayed by their enthusiasm for anything and everything.
The Inbestigators is an entertaining watch and quite easy to get through as each episode has two cases within its 30-minute duration.
The cases aren’t that difficult to solve – you’d probably have figured it out before the 15 minutes are up. After all, the clues are highlighted as a way for young viewers to solve alongside the Inbestigators.
But, it must be said, that the set-up for each case is cleverly executed, that even adults can quickly get into it. The Case Of The Peculiar Pop Quiz, for example, revolves around a class working together to cheat at a pop quiz that has a shade of Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express.
The fast pace of the show also makes it easy to binge-watch the whole series in a weekend.
Like all TV shows for young children, there are life lessons inserted with every case.
One of the most memorable lessons revolve around Ezra’s sister (a delightful addition whenever she appears) who has to learn that being herself is the best way to get friends instead of pretending to be someone else just to be accepted.
Undoubtedly, in The Inbestigators the adults hardly have anything to do or say – we don’t even see any of the parents! – but the headmaster makes a number of appearances.
And just like the scenes between Ezra and his sister are entertaining, the scenes between Ezra and his headmaster are quite hilarious.
All in all, watch The Inbestigators with your children or as a lighter option after binge-watching darker shows like Mindhunter, Marcella, Unbelievable and Making A Murderer.
The Inbestigators is available on Netflix.
'The Inbestigators' gets you binge-watching in a fun way.