Joe Dante’s Gremlins is a bonafide holiday horror classic. Featuring the adorableness of the mogwai Gizmo and the general chaotic shenanigans the mogwai unleash, it’s ripe for exploration. Now, we’re seeing the mogwai explored by writer/executive producer Tze Chun in the animated series, GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI. Perfect for kids and adults alike, you’ll be hard-pressed not to fall in love with Gizmo all over again. You’ll also grow wickedly attached to the young Sam Wing and Elle.

A prequel to the original film, GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI takes us back to Shanghai in the 1920s. We’re introduced to Sam Wing. After a visit to a traveling circus goes horribly awry, Sam is confronted with a near-impossible task. He must protect Gizmo and take him back to his home. With a sus tycoon on his tail and a thief he can’t trust by his side, the odds are stacked against Sam and Gizmo in this animated adventure. Do be warned, parents. This series will be frightening for some kids.

Characters you’ll love

We all know the main selling point here is Gizmo. Or maybe that’s just the selling point for me. Regardless, AJ LoCascio’s vocal handling of Gizmo makes the cute aggression that manifests all the more aggressive. You’re going to want to reach through the screen and squeeze the little mogwai. As much as I would like to lie to myself, a story can’t rest on the cuteness of its creatures. Thankfully, the vocal performances and arcs of our main characters make it easy to invest.

Izaac Wang’s Sam Wing is earnest, yet scared. Kept under close watch by his parents, we see how the adventure brings him out of his comfort zone. We also see how his bravery grows. Influenced by his time with Gizmo and Elle, this hero’s journey feels natural despite the fantastical elements onscreen.

Gabrielle Nevaeh Green’s Elle is another to watch out for. As we learn more about the thief’s story, empathy is easy to come by. Left to fend for herself, we see how her edges become hardened over time. But we also see how, despite her bravery and street smarts, fear still lingers. While you wouldn’t think Sam and Elle would work, their friendship and development resonate.


For any horror fans wondering how scary GREMLINS: SECRET OF THE MOGWAI is, the scary elements are there. Tapping into Chinese folklore allows for wiggle room in blending fantasy with horror. Episode 5, in particular, is one to watch out for in the scares department. Keeping in mind a younger audience, nothing ever gets too crazy. That said, the creators don’t completely forget the horror of the Gremlins. Remember, things get lit when you break the rules of the mogwai.

There is also a significant element of action that helps stoke adrenaline. Whether being chased down in streets, running across speeding trains, or falling through weakened wood boards, our heroes have plenty of obstacles that’ll make audiences wonder whether or not they are going to make it. These elements come together to make a fun watch for the family.

GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI serves as a safe and scary introduction to the horrific world of the mogwai. With strong character development, brilliant usage of Chinese folklore, and thrills, there’s plenty for fans of Gremlins and newbies to love. Most importantly, we get much-needed time with Gizmo, our favorite mogwai.

Escape into a world of magic and mythology when GREMLINS: SECRETS OF THE MOGWAI premieres Tuesday, May 23 on Max.

Sarah Musnicky
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