Disney Channel is branching out into different types of programming. Andi Mack now feels like the start of a renaissance and the next step in that evolution is Fast Layne. It’s the kind of show that would’ve been on Disney XD starring boys a few years ago, but is now geared towards girls with continuity and cliffhangers. Welcome to Disney Channel 2019.
Layne is a 12-year-old perfectionist whose best friend Zora is her polar opposite. When they hear strange sounds from the shed in Layne’s backyard, they find a secret underground lab where they meet V.I.N., a smart self-driving car with a lot of personality. He responds to Layne’s DNA and she discovers that she can drive him anywhere.
The big (predictable) mystery in the first two episodes is trying to discover why Layne is able to activate V.I.N.’s controls. The plot is thickened by the fact that V.I.N.’s core memory gets damaged and if they don’t get the money to replace it fast, they will lose any hope of finding out why Layne can activate V.I.N.
Feeling somewhat like a reboot of Knight Rider, the fact that V.I.N. is a yellow orange color also draws comparisons to Bumblebee, although there’s no hint of V.I.N. being from another planet or anything like that. In one scene, Zora tries to get V.I.N. to transform and you can’t help but wonder what she expects it to become.
It’s fitting that the series debuted after the premiere of the live action Kim Possible DCOM because they’re both girl-centered programming with more of a focus on action and adventure than pop music and school-based situations. I’m curious to see how long they are able to steer away from the typical tropes of a Disney Channel original series, but for now its a breath of fresh air.
In addition to Knight Rider, I would also compare it to Spy Kids. Layne and Zora have to overcome obstacles and usually V.I.N.’s smart tech features help them through challenges. I have a feeling that as time goes on, there will be smaller gadgets that they can take with them, and ways to communicate with V.I.N. remotely.
I think Fast Layne is a winner and guaranteed to be a hit. Kids will connect with the main characters, but the fantasy of having a self-driving car with a personality at your disposal is irresistable. Move over, Tesla, V.I.N. is here.
I give Fast Layne 4 out of 5 kids racing against adults and winning.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.