Preview: Max & Shred tear up YTV

A TV series about mismatched characters who end up getting along are a common trope in kids’ programming. Heck, almost entire networks are made up of the stuff. And yet when it’s done well, the result can be very entertaining.

Max & Shred is just such a series. The Breakthrough Entertainment project–debuting Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on YTV–focuses on two boys that couldn’t be more different. Max Asher (Jonny Gray) is a world-famous snowboarder, a cool dude with floppy hair, a crooked smile and undeniable charm. Adults and kids all love him. At odds is Alvin Ackerman (Jake Goodman)–a.k.a. Shred, a nickname he picks up in the first episode–a bookworm, genius inventor who is awkward around everyone and everything that doesn’t have to do with science. The two, of course, are thrown together and eventually become best buds.

What makes Max & Shred different from other stuff out there is the chemistry between the two lead characters. Rather than being over-the-top with their performances–something that plagues this genre–they play everything with enough subtlety that you’re captivated rather than annoyed.

Though it’s never explained in the pilot episode, Max explodes into  Alvin’s Shred’s life when he comes to live with the Ackerman family, a group that includes mom Diane (Siobhan Murphy), dad Lloyd (Jean-Michel Le Gal) and sister Abby (Emilia McCarthy). They’re all super-stoked Max is there, but the future Shred isn’t. He has a science fair to win with his new invention and doesn’t have time–or anything in common–with the high-flying snowboarding superstar. One case of mistaken identity later, and both boys find themselves having to walk in each other’s shoes (or in the case of Alvin, Max’s boots) and learn to respect each for the individuals they are.

Thanks to a smart pilot script by Josh Greenbaum and Ben McMillan (and a catchy as all heck theme song), Max & Shred is a gnarly addition to the genre, dude.

Max & Shred airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.