A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It addresses themes like poverty, thievery, social class, fate, free will, good overcoming evil, and others, most of which are present in Dickens' original Oliver Twist.
Positive Role Models
Jack Dawkins wants to help his patients, but desperation and poverty still pushes him to resort to gambling and thievery. Fagin seeks to profit from their antics, but does occasioanlly reveal a more human side. Captain Gaines appears vengeful, while Lady Belle is trying to break social norms and codes forced on women of her class.
The cast is all white, but there are some powerful, well-rounded female characters.
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Violence & Scariness
There are gruesome scenes of amputations and other bloody procedures, most of which eventually lead to death. People are chased, brutal fighting matches are shown, and people are hanged. Swords, as well as rudimentry surgical equipment like saws, are used.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main character finds romance. Adultery is a theme.
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The word "s--t" is used often.
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Products & Purchases
Music performed by Stevie Wright, Reem, and others are part of the series' soundtrack, and available for purchase.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
People are shown drinking and drunk; alcohol is used to help patients handle pain during surgeries. Smoking is sometimes visible.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Artful Dodger is a sequel to Charles Dickens' orphan tale Oliver Twist. It addresses similar dark themes, and has a lot of violence, including very bloody, gruesome scenes of people undergoing medical procedures and amputations that are usually fatal. Threats, hangings, duels, and other and other violent events are also frequent. Characters find romance and surgery is performed on a sex worker. Swearing is audible, including frequent use of "s--t," and drinking and smoking are visible. Contemporary music by Reem, Stevie Wright, Spiderbait, and others are featured throughout.
Is It Any Good?
This quirky series successfully reinvents two of Charles Dickens' characters and places them in an interesting new world. The Artful Dodger stays true to Oliver Twist's themes, including a reliance on thievery to survive, class divides, social bonds, individuality, and the tension between fate and free will. However, it does so against the backdrop of the Australian territory in the 1850s, which is modernizing while serving as home to several British penal colonies.
There's also a modern edge to the overall production, thanks to elements like contemporary soundtracks and some obvious adult humor. However, The Artful Dodger's greatest success is delivering a story sequel in which the entertaining plotlines easily develop and evolve independently from Dickens' original story. If you're a fan of period pieces, no doubt that you'll enjoy this one.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.