Fantasy stories can often provide influential, comforting, and motivating metaphors for how we live our real lives. Our own imaginations can do that, too. Entering a fantasy of our design can sometimes teach us more than we thought we'd ever know about ourselves, and help us go through "real" life. The Dangerous Book for Boys is a story about that.
Based on the best-selling book by Conn and Hal Iggulden, Amazon's new original series, created by Bryan Cranston and Greg Mottola, tells the story of the McKenna family, which has recently been through a major loss. The family's patriarch, Patrick (Chris Diamantopoulos), died suddenly, leaving his wife Beth (Erinn Hayes) to care for three young sons who are far more obsessed with video games and the internet than they are with quality family time. Hoping to engage her boys in something other than a screen and bring her family back together, Beth reveals that Patrick left something behind for his sons: the titular book, which supposedly will tell them everything they need to know to get through life with a sense of adventure, from building go-karts to playing poker to traveling to the moon.
The youngest McKenna son, Wyatt (Gabriel Bateman), develops a particular attachment to the book, so much so that he begins entering his own fantasy world, where he finds his father guiding him through his imaginary adventures. It's in this world of make-believe, where he's everything from an astronaut to a cowboy, that Wyatt learns the lessons his father was hoping to teach, and applies them to life with his brothers and mother.
The first trailer for the series definitely plays up the heartwarming family story, but the real dazzle is in Wyatt's fantasies. They're not half-imagined or made of cardboard. They're tactile and filled with detail, highlighting the show's potential to essentially go anywhere Wyatt can dream of being. If you've ever spent hours in your bedroom crafting epic stories with nothing but your imagination and a few toys (and who hasn't?), this show just might hook you.
Check out the trailer below. The Dangerous Book for Boys arrives on Amazon Prime March 30.