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TV Series Review

Most cats are less pets and more freeloading houseguests. They eat when they want, sleep when they want and destroy whatever houseplant displeases them. They're liable to leave home for days at a time, only to slink back for a little Meow Mix, pretending that they never left. Cats are pretty independent, is what I'm saying. Which makes Puss in Boots' attachment to the town of San Lorenzo a tad unusual.

On the surface, Puss seems like he should be about as independent a kitty as you're likely to find. Those famous boots of his are made for walking, see, and for most of his nine lives, the cat has dodged in and out of danger with nary a second thought. Sure, he has his friends, but there's no question Puss is a feline who likes his "me" time. He proved an invaluable helpmate to Shrek in a series of movies dedicated to that great green guy, then wandered off to make one of his own. He's used to pouncing from adventure to adventure, pausing just long enough to lap up a little victory milk, collect any nearby loot and cause certain coquettish kitties to swoon.

But when he stumbled into the quaint, quirky and exceedingly wealthy village of Netflix—er, San Lorenzo, Mr. Boots found a real home and an odd, loving family. It was the beautiful and naive Dulcinea who was the original draw for the swashbuckling cat, but there's clearly more to it than that. He's grown fond of the town's swarm of gregarious orphans and collection of eccentric adults. And he finds that he enjoys being needed protecting San Lorenzo and its treasures from rampaging thieves (which makes him perhaps the world's only legitimate guard cat).

And, like any cat worth its sandpaper tongue, he stays pretty clean while doing so.

This is not to say that The Adventures of Puss in Boots purrs along without any problems at all. We are talking about Puss in Boots, after all—an animal with all the martial bravado and derring-do of a baker's dozen of musketeers. It's a rare episode that does not include a rollicking swordfight or a fulsome helping of fisticuffs. Sometimes these fights can cause animated injury or embarrassment. (In the show's title sequence, Boots has just cut the clothes off his adversaries, leaving them in their undies or covering their privates.) Magic is part of the mix, too. We're told that San Lorenzo was founded by a powerful mage (his talking statue still lurks in the treasury), and its vaults are filled with magical items. Some fantastical creatures may trek (or flamboyantly fly) into town occasionally. And when they don't, Puss sometimes ventures out to find them first. And, of course, our titular tabby will sometimes cast a smoldering glance in Dulcinea's direction.

But Puss in Boots' amorous intentions are far more subdued than those of, say, Pepé Le Pew, and so far the sordid shenanigans that showed up in Shrek are nowhere to be found here. DreamWorks and production partner Netflix seem determined to make something that's truly kid- and family-friendly.

That may come as a bit of a surprise, especially given Netflix' less-than-squeaky-clean reputation. (The outlet's most popular original programming has heretofore been saturated in caustic content found in such gritty and gratuitous series as House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and Marco Polo.) But maybe Netflix aspires to a bigger entertainment tent than that and is now trying to plant a peg or two in cleaner dirt.

It doesn't take much time for Dulcinea to realize that Puss in Boots has his share of flaws. He's conceited, selfish, petty, prideful ... and the list goes on. But she insists that our titular feline has a good heart. The same could be said for his show, and that makes the town of San Lorenzo a curiously nice place to visit.

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Episode Reviews

Adventures-of-Puss-in-Boots: 1-16-2015



Readability Age Range



Eric Bauza as Puss In Boots; Jayma Mays as Dulcinea; Grey DeLisle as Vina; Carla Jimenez as Señora Zapata; Ariebella Makana as Esme; Laraine Newman as Pajuna; Paul Rugg as Artephius; Joshua Rush as Toby






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On Video

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Paul Asay

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