New TV show puts smart girls in spotlight This photo provided by Netflix shows actresses Genneya Walton, from left, Victoria Vida, Ysa Penarejo, and Mika Abdalla, in a scene from "Project Mc2." The series about four clever schoolgirls recruited to join a spy organization will be released Aug. 7, 2015, on Netflix. (Netflix via AP)
New TV show puts smart girls in spotlight
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"Yes, it's true. Women do run the world," the head of a females-only spy agency tells four schoolgirl recruits in "Project Mc2." It's a new series for tweens on Netflix.

But spinning reality isn't the show's intent. Instead, it seeks to encourage girls to do the math and realize they are capable of succeeding in the male- ominated fields of science and technology.

That lofty goal is wrapped in the lively, goofy fun of "Project Mc2." The show is about four girls who join forces with intelligence chief The Quail. She is played by actress and real-life math whiz and author Danica McKellar She was on the show "The Wonder Years."

The three-episode "Project Mc2," is available Aug. 7 on Netflix in the United States and 50-plus other countries. The fledgling teenage spies are smart, stylish and far from social geeks. The target audience is viewers age 7 to 12. That's the so-called "tween" demographic. A second season is planned.

"It's really aspirational," said executive producer Shauna Phelan. "It shows you can be smart and cool. You can be smart and funny. You can be smart and stylish.  And those things are not mutually exclusive in an individual."

"It would be amazing if we had a younger demographic look at these girls and realize, 'I love these super-smart girls and I want to be like them,'" Phelan said.

Consider it a pop culture contribution to academic efforts to engage girls and young women in the disciplines known by the acronym "STEM." That is short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The series' diverse cast includes Victoria Vida, Genneya Walton, Ysa Penarejo and Mika Abdalla as the intrepid quartet called on to rescue a royal - but not a princess.

"Our damsel in distress is a prince on a civilian flight to space. So we flipped the standard there, where we have four smart girls saving the boy," Phelan said.

For McKellar, "Project Mc2" adds up to a passion project. She has a bachelor's degree in math.

"This is what I want girls to see more of. Instead of imagining, 'I'm one of these vapid models I see on the covers of magazines, or reality stars,'" McKellar said. She'd like youngsters to envision themselves striding down Wall Street in "4-inch heels and going to a high-powered job."

"Being smart means you're in control of your life," she said.

Entertainment is the show's first goal. But a consultant was brought in to confirm the accuracy of the science the young agents dabble in, Phelan said. Writer Jordana Arkin went one better. She checked the show's espionage angles with a friend who's ex-CIA.

The action and the science are lighthearted. In one scene, the girls dust for fingerprints with a mixture made from kitchen ingredients.

"Project Mc2" offers something else for tweens. It's a sequential story, not stand-alone episodes.

"They can even binge-watch," Phelan said.

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Why does the executive producer of the show call it "aspirational"?
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COMMENTS (32)
  • p2-alena-pen
    8/13/2015 - 10:16 a.m.

    Project Mc2 seems like a great show I will really want to watch it when I get a chance. It seems like a real self esteem booster for girls not like Disney where the boy is always the hero and always saves the girls and the girl never saves the boy. I think it will tell all the girls that watch it that they can do anything and they are smart.

    • gabyc.-her
      11/03/2015 - 09:27 a.m.

      I could not have said it better. It is true the boys always save the girls and it just does not seem fair. The girls should have a chance to be the hero and help others and feel USEFUL for just that moment that we are watching this movie! I want to thank the creators of Project Mc2! :-)

  • NadaR-Iov
    8/16/2015 - 10:39 p.m.

    he calls it aspirational because you can be smart and funny or smart and stylish or you can be smart and cool.

    • lenaw-sch
      9/03/2015 - 01:42 p.m.

      at the same time right?

  • davidb.-her
    8/24/2015 - 09:12 a.m.


    WOMEN HAVE STONG FEELINGS ABOUT BEING SMART AND GEEKY! HAR HAR HAR!

    • aleenag-nar
      8/27/2015 - 10:32 a.m.

      ....

    • gabyc.-her
      11/03/2015 - 09:29 a.m.

      ya we do have feeling DAVID!!! THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WOULD FEEL IF YOU WERE A GIRL!!!

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    8/26/2015 - 12:06 a.m.

    I think that it is cool to have a group of girl teenagers to put in the spotlight of a new TV show on smart girls that are put in the spotlight so that they could make a TV show. The smart girls might have been to be kind of surprising because they are putting on a new TV show that the smart girls are going to put up in the TV which I think that it may be 50-50 of good and bad.

  • taylork-nar
    8/27/2015 - 10:39 a.m.

    I love this show!!! ??????????????????????????????????????????????????

  • biancag-nar
    8/27/2015 - 10:45 a.m.

    Women can be what ever they want unless they don't believe in themselves. These four girls can be intelligent, stylish, and hilarious. This T.V. Series is a smart idea to show Tweens what their made of.

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