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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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why does the executive producer of the show call it "aspirational"?
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COMMENTS (35)
  • nataliac-nar
    8/27/2015 - 01:29 p.m.

    I personally love this show I watched it and was upset the was only three!!!! SO FAR

  • nataliac-nar
    8/27/2015 - 01:32 p.m.

    I personally love this show, it proves the women can be smart and still do things women do (cooking!!!!!!)

  • jadaj-
    9/08/2015 - 01:37 p.m.

    It's called project Mc2 and its a sequential story.

  • jayonnag-ros
    9/14/2015 - 06:53 p.m.

    According to "New TV show puts smart girls on the spot" the executive producer calls the show "Project Mc2" inspirational because it inspires girls not to be afraid to be them selves and don't be afraid to be smart.

  • HamdiM-Iov
    9/14/2015 - 10:40 p.m.

    love how you've chose this show it really seems that your piece can inspire

  • Jason0421-YYCA
    9/15/2015 - 10:19 p.m.

    I think that it is interesting that four girls are going to save a boy by using math, science, and their brain. I think that this show will be a hit since smart girls are always inspirational to girls. I believe that this show will help girls understand that girls can be as smart as boys.

  • giovannis-ros
    9/17/2015 - 01:42 p.m.

    She is so smart.

  • luciap-ros
    9/17/2015 - 02:23 p.m.

    The meaning of the world aspirational it is to shows that you can be nice cool and stylish.??????????

  • sansua-win
    9/17/2015 - 04:41 p.m.

    Wow! I know that a lot of people are discriminating people and giving them labels such as nerd,popular,average etc. But with this show,it shows that girls can be as smart as boys.

  • kathryna-ros
    9/18/2015 - 12:45 p.m.

    The executive producer call it an aspiration because the show enspirs girls that they can be more than pretty princess they can be brave,confident and smart.The girls can be more than just girls.

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