What is it
The Fixies is a Russian cartoon series about a family of tiny (1cm tall) fairy-like creatures who repair everyday items, and in the process teach about physics, electronics, and other useful DiY knowledge.
Who is it for
The show is a big hit with our 4-year-old but a lot of the content is sophisticated enough for much older kids as well.
What Kids like
The characters are fun, with the kids getting into and out of trouble and the parents offering guidance when necessary. The animation is bright and engaging. The theme song is catchy and the show makes good use of music.
What Parents like
I like the fact that it’s Russian. It’s nice to have a reference to Russian culture that has nothing to do with politics. And I like having influences from other countries. Geronimo Stilton is from Italy, P.J. Masks from France, many (most?) PBS Kids shows are from Canada, and lots of the more cutesy cartoons are from Korea and Japan. Although each cartoon has basically the same formula (a group of young people work together to solve problems) each one has a slightly different feel to it that is representative of its country of origin.
In the case of The Fixies, the subject matter is significantly more in-depth in terms of engineering/STEM topics. For example, one episode had a bit on pipe fabrication, how pipes can be made by rolling and welding a sheet of metal (which results in a seam) vs. extruding a solid block to make a seamless pipe. I can’t imagine any American show covering that level of detail.
Each episode includes a 40-second bit on how things work, in a fun and educational way.
There is also a typically Russian attitude toward toughness and responsibility. While most American and Canadian cartoons seem to value self-affirmation over anything else, The Fixes put that value below those of being responsible and getting the job done. One episode had the children try to do a quick fix in order to earn a prize and at the end the father gives them a cheap, flimsy award to reflect the quality of work they did.
But really, the Russian-ness is not obvious. I wouldn’t have noticed or guessed. if I hadn’t looked it up. (The one big clue is the catchphrase the characters use when they’ve fixed something, “tideesh”, which sounds very slavic to my ears.)
Another quality of the show, that may have something to do with it being Russian, is that there is a strong message about the importance of fixing what you have as opposed to throwing something away just because it’s broken.
What the critics think
I haven’t seen any reviews of the show. They have a sparse IMDB page and nothing on Wikipedia despite having several hundred episodes (~140 dubbed into English) and a feature movie. The show was nominated for an APKiT award, which is, as far as I can tell, a Russian equivalent to the Oscars.
I found no flaws with the show itself, but it seems to be available only via YouTube and has multiple ads to skip in each 12-minute episode.
Who made it
The show is made by Aeroplane Productions in Moscow
Lots of info on their website https://www.thefixies.com/
They are doing what lots of other children’s media companies are doing, creating related apps, games etc. Most of the Fixies games are in Russian and don’t yet have English translations.
It looks like the company is actively looking for licensing in other countries and it would be great if Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or PBS Kids picked it up.
When was it made/history
The original, Russian show began in 2010 and the English version was released starting in 2015.
Where can I get it
As far as I can tell, it’s only available via The Fixies channel on YouTube