By Edie Nugent,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Apocalypse tale is light on story, heavy on violence.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Though some post-apocalyptic narratives can possess nobler messages about humanity rebuilding itself with knowledge of the past and hope for the future, the title of Aftermath really says it all. This is the immediate aftermath of the apocalypse, and it's as brutal and bloody as you'd expect.
Positive Role Models
The Copelands are a tight-knit family who clearly care for each other, however, little of this is featured before the drama of the apocalypse begins to unfold, stealing the focus. Karen is brave, but also reckless, putting herself in harm's way. Joshua is supportive of his wife and an accomplished teacher.
Violence & Scariness
Main characters are attacked by other humans, some supernatural, some infected with a "fever" that causes violent behavior. There's talk of skinning people alive. Numerous physical attacks where main characters are choked. Brianna is dragged screaming from her mother into the air. Infected humans are shot multiple times but continue to attack. One wipes a severed, bloody head across a car windshield. An older teen boy is impaled on a tree, gory close ups of blood dripping from his mouth and wound. Dead bodies hang from a child's swing set. Infected police officers commit murder of innocent victims. A shootout involving police and bikers lead to the infected cops being killed in self-defense, shot multiple times. Another second shootout sees a car of infected humans killed by military officers.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
An infected cop makes advances toward Brianna that are more animal than human: he urinates in front of her (the shot is from the waist up) and sniffs her face saying "Mmm I like your hair."
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"S--t" is used casually, as in "no s--t" and "stupid s--t." "What the hell" used semi-frequently. Brianna yells "I just saved your asses" at some bikers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Aftermath is a very violent depiction of a post apocalyptic world. In the immediate aftermath of several natural disasters, a family struggles to stay together and travel in their RV towards something approaching safety. Before they make it very far, their teen daughter is violently kidnapped. Authority figures like cops are compromised by a rabies-like fever that turns them murderous. Supernatural threats also exist: possessed humans who turn feral and violent.
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What's the Story?
In AFTERMATH, Karen Copeland (Anne Heche), an air force veteran, lives a quiet life with her husband Joshua (James Tupper), a university professor, and their teens Brianna (Taylor Hickson), Dana (Julia Sarah Stone), and Matt (Levi Meaden). When the apocalypse hits, the family hits the road in their RV in hopes of finding a military safe zone in nearby Yakima, WA. They soon encounter other people turned violent by a fever of unknown origin as well as supernaturally possessed humans. One of the latter kidnaps Brianna, who must fight her way through a world full of dangerous cops and outlaw bikers to reunite with her family in the safe zone. But is the safe zone itself really safe? Is safety even possible in a world where violent storms and earthquakes are an everyday occurrence and no one can be trusted?
Is It Any Good?
This series has all the trappings of a modern end-of-the-world tale, and the graphic gore and violence will titillate adolescent audiences -- the problem is, there's not much else going on. All the main characters play second fiddle to the bloody action scenes. Heche and Tupper put in solid performances, but it's not enough to transcend the two dimensional material. These tales of viral outbreaks or alien invasion require solid characters and innovative narrative to make all the violence and fighting for resources seem fresh and compelling. It won't take long for viewers, both young and old, to tire of Aftermath, a lackluster entry in the disaster genre.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about apocalyptic narratives in religion and popular culture. What are common features they all share? Why are stories like Aftermath so popular and powerful?
Families can talk about emergency preparedness. What kinds of crisis can we actually plan for in a way that would be helpful in natural disasters, like earthquakes or floods? How can our cities and homes be made safer?
Families can talk about when violence is appropriate on television. In what context is it important to a story? When does it cross the line and become gratuitous?
- Premiere date: September 27, 2016
- Cast: Anne Heche, James Tupper, Julia Sarah Stone, Levi Meaden, Taylor Hickson
- Network: Syfy
- Genre: Science Fiction
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: December 16, 2022
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