- The Cars movie series certainly is a mixed bag when it comes to reviews. Some people like it, some hate it.
- In this new series, Mater is going on a cross-country adventure to attend his sister’s wedding.
- The series uses short episodes that are akin to Disney and Pixar shorts rather than a half-hour TV show.
Everyone’s favorite Cars duo is back for another crazy adventure, but this time they are on the road. Instead of a feature-length movie, Cars on the Road is a series of nine short episodes. It is exclusive to Disney+, so streaming is the only way to watch it.
Cars on the Road: Overview
In this new series, Mater is going on a cross-country adventure to attend his sister’s wedding. Of course, his best friend, Lightning McQueen, comes along for the ride. Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy reprise their roles as Lightning and Mater, respectively. The two, along with a combination of old and new voices, help bring the world of Cars to places it’s never been before.
This new adventure takes place after the events of Cars 3. Pixar even made the show with many of the same artists and writers that worked on the original Cars movies, including Cars 3 director Brian Fee. The series uses short episodes that are akin to Disney and Pixar shorts rather than a half-hour TV show.
This short format allowed them to break up the content into individual stories. So every episode is its own show, and while there is an overarching plot of trying to get to Mater’s sister’s wedding, the show keeps things interesting with unique plots.
While the concept of a road trip across America seems pretty mundane, nothing goes as planned. Lightning and Mater stop at a number of roadside attractions and get distracted along the way.
Let’s take a brief look at each episode to see what Lightning and Mater go through to get to the wedding.
[Even more spoilers ahead]
1. Dino Park
In the first episode, Mater informs Lightning that he must leave to go to his sister’s wedding. Lightning decides to go with him to the wedding, and the two set off on a cross-country adventure. As they get started, Lightning notices a dinosaur museum, and the two decide to stop.
Mater ends up falling asleep and dreams of being chased by dinosaurs. He finally wakes up and realizes it was all a dream, and they continue on their journey.
2. Lights Out
Episode two starts out with Lightning and Mater caught in the storm. They decided to stop at a hotel that is a bit mysterious. Mater is clearly creeped out by the place, but Lightning insists that it will be fine for the night.
Later that evening, Lightning goes to explore the hotel and finds himself in several scenes from the movie The Shining. He finally makes it back to his room right, gets Mater, and they quickly depart.
3. Salt Fever
Episode three finds Lightning and Mater in the famous Nevada salt flats side to side with land speed racers. As we see in the trailer, Mater ends up with a rocket strapped to him and reaches over 175 miles an hour there’s Lightning tries to keep up.
Major then has a weird experience where he meets racers that had deadly wrecks on the salt flats. When Mater comes to, he must quickly prevent himself from crashing as well. The episode ends with Lightning and Mater swarmed by other cars who can’t believe Mater just beat the land speed record.
4. The Legend
The 4th episode finds Lightning and Mater camping on a mountain when Mater comes across a group of cars searching for Bigfoot. Of course, Mater offers them his and Lightning’s help. The alleged monster then kidnaps Lightning, who finds out it’s just a monster truck that ran away.
Lightning finds out that she really ran off because she didn’t like destroying cars for sport. Mater eventually finds the two, and they team up to scare off the Bigfoot searchers. Ivy, the monster truck, then joins them as they set off on the next leg of their journey.
5. Show Time
With Ivy coming along, episode 5 sees Lighting and Mater using a car wash to get clean. They then come across a circus that Lightning doesn’t want to visit because of his fear of clowns. The three decide to go watch the show, but Ivy’s picked from the audience to perform.
She is set to do a rendition of her old performance of crushing cars. But she wows the crowd by dancing around the cars instead. In the end, Ivy is asked to join the circus with her new performance while Lightning and Mater depart to continue their journey.
While continuing their voyage, Mater begins questioning whether he’s a real truck or not as he notices all the larger ones around him. This comes to a head when they come upon a rest stop. Lightning goes inside to browse around while Mater joins in a song with the other trucks.
Mater is rejuvenated and meets back up with Lightning, who is blissfully unaware of the spectacle that just went on outside, and they continue their road trip.
The 7th episode sees Lightning and Mater passing through a town that’s currently being used as a film set for a horror movie. The film crew instantly recognizes Lightning McQueen and wants him in their movie. Lightning struggles with his role as the sheriff deputy, but Mater does a perfect job in multiple roles given to him.
After some consolation from Mater, they show up to the set only to find that the entire script has been rewritten and the movie is now a musical. Funnily enough, Ivy shows up and is the star of the new movie. With Lightning and Mater both fired from the movie, the two continue on their trip.
8. Road Rumblers
Nearing the end of their journey, Lightning and Mater get captured by a pack of crazy cars that want them to compete in a battle to the death. However, a group of electric cars barge in and stop the match.
The cars then explain they were all part of a camping group when things devolved. Lighting and Mater try to make peace with the groups but fail and get chased away. As the episode ends, Lightning and Mater are at a truck stop where they see some of the cars have made amends.
9. Gettin’ Hitched
In the season finale, Lightning and Mater finally make it to Mato’s wedding. Cruz Ramirez then shows up, and we find out that she is the cousin of Mato’s fiance. In another stunning turn of events, we see that Mater’s family comes from great wealth.
Once the pleasantries are over, Mater and Mato begin a heated competition in which Cruz must end an attempt to reconcile the two. Mater then gives a speech where he alludes to the possibility of another season by recommending driving back to Radiator Springs instead of flying.
The show ends with a glimpse of Mato and Mateo on their honeymoon at the same tire maze that Lightning and Mater went to.
Lightning McQueen Day and Premiere
The protagonist of the show has his own day on September 5. To celebrate this year, Disney decided to release a trailer for their soon-to-be-released Cars on the Road Disney+ show.
In the trailer, we get to see a glimpse from Episode 3: Salt Fever, where Mater and Lightning are out racing on the Nevada salt flats. Mater has rockets strapped to him and breaks 175 MP. He even spoofs Lightning’s “I am speed” mantra.
This year’s Lightning McQueen day took place just a short while before the Disney+ day, which gave them the perfect opportunity to highlight the new show. Cars on the Road officially debuted on Disney+ day, which fell on September 8 this year and was a great start to Disney’s D23 event.
To further market the premiere, Disney partnered with McDonald’s on a new line of Cars-inspired toys for Happy Meals. There were eight toys in all, including Lightning, Mater, and Cruz Ramirez. These Happy Meals also included activity sheets and Cars-themed Apple Slice packaging.
Cars on the Road: Review
The Cars movie series certainly is a mixed bag when it comes to reviews. In fact, they are some of the lowest-rated Pixar movies. However, many still enjoy the series, especially children.
The episodes are relatively short, coming in between ten and fifteen minutes each. But each episode has the duo in a different place, experiencing a whole new adventure.
The series brings back the feel of the original movie with Mater and Lightning together again. The show can best be compared to the Cars shorts that were released around the time of the first movie, with the main difference being that these ten episodes have the same theme.
Is Cars on the Road Worth Watching?
If you love the Cars franchise or just enjoyed one of the movies, then you will probably enjoy Cars on the Road. The show is great fun to watch, albeit a bit short. However, I am not sure if longer or even more episodes would have been appropriate for such a show.
Cars on the Road managed to pack in a lot of action and told many new stories. But one of the most interesting parts was how it shows different segments of the Cars universe. For instance, dinosaurs and electric cars appear in the show but were never properly introduced in the movies.
It just goes to show that there’s so much more to the Cars universe that Disney and Pixar have not yet explored. Although the show is entertaining, there is some fair argument that Disney just made the show to sell toys.
While there probably is some truth to this as Cars merchandise sells very well, it is also true that it will bring a lot of new subscribers to Disney+. Regardless of the intention, the show offers plenty of Easter eggs that leave you wanting more.
Where to Watch
Every episode from the first season of Cars on the Road is available to stream on Disney+. At this time, the show is a Disney+ exclusive, and Disney has not announced plans to air it on television or release it on DVD/Bluray.
You can start streaming Disney+ for only $7.99 per month. Best of all, you can cancel at any time. So you can pay for one month, watch the show and then cancel. Keep in mind that Disney did announce plans to add an ad-supported tier and raise the price of ad-free to $9.99 in the near future.
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