A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Heroes and heroines are actively engaged in trying to help people, but their methods are often questionable at best.
Positive Role Models
Characters are complex; the time travel conceit gives them many opportunities to behave poorly, but they try to work for the greater good.
Violence & Scariness
The show's plot hinges on a plague that destroys mankind; there are disturbing images of dead bodies being stacked in piles; starving, bleeding people; faceless evil people who come out of nowhere to menace characters; and stabbings, shootings, and bludgeonings. Lots of disturbing medical/military imagery.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One character advises another to "get laid," and the former jokes he'll go back in time and have sex with his friend's mother.
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Frequent "hell" and "damn," occasional "s--t" and "a--hole."
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Products & Purchases
This show is based on an American remake of a French sci-fi movie; viewers may want to see one or both movies, which are more violent and disturbing than this show.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character briefly smokes on-screen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 12 Monkeys is a science-fiction show loosely based on Terry Gilliam's dystopian film about time travelers attempting to prevent a plague that wipes out most of humanity. Dread and menace are constant, with enemies popping up unexpectedly and characters dying suddenly. There are point-blank shootings, stabbings, blood, gore, and disturbing medical/military imagery, including scenes of dead bodies being piled high post-plague. Heroic characters have murky/unclear motives and questionable methods.
Is It Any Good?
The idea of a pandemic that wipes us all out is definitely realistic enough to give this Syfy series a creepy chill. It's easy to picture an unhinged somebody (or an army of somebodies) hell-bent enough on some esoteric goal to unleash destruction, and 12 Monkeys plays it smart by making the Army of 12 Monkeys' motives a mystical puzzle that Cole and Cassandra must unravel piece by piece. What is the connection to shadowy, resolute virologist Leland Goines? What did his unstable daughter Jennifer (breakout live wire Emily Hampshire) witness that landed her in a psych ward? How can Cassandra and Cole stop the plague when they aren't even sure where it came from?
Time travel is a typical and tidy way to tie up loose ends in sci-fi, but 12 Monkeys skewers the trope by making "splintering" an inexact science. When the desperate academics of 2043 try to send Cole back to find someone, they're as likely to send him to the wrong country (at one point he's captured in North Korea) as to the wrong time. It's a cool conceit: Going back in time is no guarantee everything's going to wind up OK. Sci-fi fans are definitely going to want to watch to see what happens; and, so long as you don't have young or sensitive viewers in your house, the whole family can check this show out.
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.