The Dead Zone

Common Sense Media says

Psychic fights crime in OK thriller. Teens and up.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main character uses his powers for good, but some characters, including an evangelical reverend, are morally ambigious, and some are downright rotten. One African American character in an otherwise all-white cast.


Murder, suspenseful situations, shooting, hate crimes -- not every episode includes graphic violence, but some do.


Kissing; sexual objectification by bad characters. Adults have intimate relationships.


"Son of a bitch" and other lesser cursing.


Some product placement, like Apple computers.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Bad characters sometimes drink.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi drama based on a Stephen King novel depicts supernatural powers, crime, murder, and conspiracy. Situations can be scary and sometimes involve children at risk. Several characters are shady, including a Christian church leader. Storylines involve intimate adult relationships and sometimes include potentially confusing messages about marriage and sex.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

In psychological thriller THE DEAD ZONE (based on Stephen King's 1979 novel), Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall) wakes from a six-year coma to find that his world has changed: His mother has died, and his wife has remarried, and he's gained the ability to foresee the future by touching people and objects. He uses his newfound powers to fight for good, though he struggles with interpreting his visions and sometimes makes devastating mistakes. The series follows a somber, sensitive Smith as he tangles with politicians, investigates crimes, and tries to piece his life back together.

Is it any good?


The Dead Zone has elements that make it a potential cult hit -- the supernatural, political conspiracy, a mysterious future, and even Smith's tortured soul -- but it also has multiple weaknesses that keep it from being a true success. The one black character (John L. Adams as Bruce Lewis) in the otherwise all-white cast has minimal importance and often just seems along for the ride. And if Smith would lighten up occasionally, it would actually allow viewers to take him more seriously. Watching him manage his visions is an exciting aspect of the show, but Hall overplays the seriousness of his role a bit and tends to hold a stoic expression in almost every scene. Also, his face is consistently lit from an angle, adding both an otherworldly and sort of silly melodramatic effect.

With murder, crime, and conspiracy at the forefront, The Dead Zone isn't for younger folks. Some episodes are more gruesome than others, and some involve children being threatened or killed. Most older teens should be able to handle the material.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about supernatural powers. What would it be like to see the future? What other powers would family members want to have? Would teens be tempted to use their powers for not-so-good reasons? What responsibilities come with having powers like Johnny's?

TV details

Cast:Anthony Michael Hall, Chris Bruno, Nicole de Boer
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Dead Zone was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul 2.0;... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

And the fifth season begins....

Keeping this short, The dead Zone is a good show for anyone a fan of Stephen King or stories/ideas of that sort. The fact that the show is now in its fifth season should mean something to you. It is an excellent show and hooked me at season one.

Kid, 12 years old Written byMikaylaaMadisonn April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

This show is the best! I watch it every sunday! It rocks!!!!

Teen, 13 years old Written byPea789 July 10, 2010

not too bad for teenagers. very interesting

This movie is not very bad at all. It is now my favorite movie because it is very interesting.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages


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