A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Allegiance explores the complicated relationship between a bright, young CIA analyst and his parents, who are former Russian spies. You'll see violent scenes involving murder and torture with some blood and see some sexual tension between characters (and steamy kissing). Language includes words such as "damn" and "hell," and some characters drink socially.
What's the story?
Years after they left Russia and cut their ties to the KGB, former spies Katya (Hope Davis) and Mark (Scott Cohen) O'Connor are living happily as a married couple in New York City. But when their son, Alex (Gavin Stenhouse) -- a brilliant CIA analyst with a bright future who has no idea about his parents' past -- is pulled into a government investigation involving Russian intelligence, it threatens to spill their family secrets. Where does their ALLEGIANCE lie now?
Is it any good?
In spite of the fact that Allegiance was adapted from a critically acclaimed Israeli series, most U.S. audiences will compare it to The Americans, the 1980s-set FX drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, who star as another set of Russian sleeper spies posing as regular folk. Considering the shared subject matter, it's a logical link. But the two series are different enough that they actually have very little in common. For one, Allegiance is much more mainstream.
Although The Americans is decidedly dark and cerebral, Allegiance applies a lighter tone to the business of espionage, having occasional fun with Alex's otherworldly abilities to absorb and process information but stopping short of being "funny." (Stenhouse, by the way -- whose Hong Kong-born English heritage you'd never guess based on his American accent -- is a dead ringer for Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris. Particularly when he's wearing collared shirts under "preppy" sweaters. Go figure.) The show also centers more on the family unit -- in contrast to The Americans' focus on the central characters' marriage -- with far fewer content concerns for parents with older teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Allegiance's premise and the types of moral questions the main characters are wrestling with. Is family more important than country? What are the risks of lying to protect someone you love? How would you behave if you found yourself in similar circumstances?
What's the real-life history of foreign relations between the United States and Russia? How accurately does Allegiance portray present-day tensions? Is Russia still a relevant "enemy"?
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