A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Ultimately, evildoers are punished, and their crimes aren't glamorized, though viewers may come away with the idea that many in the medical profession are greedy and amoral (despite the fact that there are dependable and even noble characters), and younger viewers may wind up thinking they shouldn't trust doctors.
Positive Role Models
Main character Susan Wheeler is intrepid, intelligent, and brave. Her character is more fleshed out than those of the villains', who are a little one-note -- they're concerned only with glory and power and not patients' health and safety. The cast is nicely gender balanced, with both good and bad male and female characters, but not very racially diverse.
Violence & Scariness
Many shots of gory medical procedures, including a procedure performed on a crying, choking grade-schooler. Many other scenes of people lying in bed motionless and covered with tubes, as well as hanging, motionless bodies. The main character is physically assaulted and choked in a dark alley.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One character is romancing another to advance his career; the two are shown nude in a hot tub together (no sensitive body parts are shown). One character sends another a text reading "Did you screw her?" after he spends the night with a woman.
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Some curse words: "hell," "ass," "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters are shown drinking at a bar at a work party; no one acts drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Coma is a tense medical thriller that could spark hospital- or doctor-related worries in younger viewers. There are many views of graphic and gory medical procedures, including an emergency procedure performed on a choking grade-school boy as his mom cries hysterically and piteously beside him. There are also creepy shots of hanging, motionless, dead-looking bodies and people lying near death in hospital beds, festooned with tubes. The main character is physically assaulted and choked in a dark alley and watched on surveillance cameras. Sexual content includes characters dipping into a hot tub nude together (though no body parts are shown). There's some cursing, including a scene where the main character is sneeringly called a "bitch." Characters drink at a work party, but no one acts drunk. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Coma is star-studded, tensely plotted, and directed with fast-moving brio by Ridley Scott (Alien) and brother Tony Scott (Top Gun). It's both creepy and absorbing, particularly for viewers who are already suspicious of what doctors could be doing behind those swinging hospital doors. Those who've seen the 1978 film or read Cook's novel may recall that the original villains were after coma victims' body parts. The new miniseries smartly updates this plot point, since -- as Dr. Bellows says -- we're on the verge of being able to grow organs in a lab, there's no profit in harvesting organs. Thus the evil doctors are now after another objective entirely, one that will strike many modern viewers as pretty disturbing.
Also disturbing, particularly to young viewers: The many shots of graphic, bloody medical procedures, eerie suspended bodies, and the heroine creeping down shadowy hospital corridors. It's easy to imagine Coma igniting a doctor or hospital fear, so think twice before you watch with younger children. Older kids or teens who are equipped to handle the tension may enjoy the brisk drama, which is light on confusing medical jargon and mostly jettisons the 1978 Coma's knotty questions about medical ethics for more straightforward horror-movie plotting. Parents, meanwhile, will like seeing old movie-star faves like Woods and Richard Dreyfuss again. Coma is good watch-together fare for families with older kids, particularly from the perspective of a comfortable, safe couch.
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.