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 Amazing Stories is a remake of the 1980s sci-fi/fantasy series of the same name, and like the original, each episode has a different setting, plot, and characters, which can make predicting the amount of iffy content, well, iffy. However, it's safe to assume that many stories will have elements that can scare younger or sensitive viewers, including monsters, time travel, supernatural events, and the like. As is typical in anthology shows, twists are frequent, and characters generally get what's coming to them: good characters are rewarded with happy endings, bad ones are punished. Cursing is infrequent, but "damn" and "hell" are heard, and in one episode, a woman is called a "common whore" when she's found spending time with a man who's not her fiance. The amount of sex, violence, drinking, and drugs varies, but in at least one a man goes on a first date with a woman and then is seen being dropped off at work by her in the morning, implying they spent the night together having sex. Romantic complications, kissing, and dating are also present. In some episodes, scenes take place at bars with adults drinking beer and cocktails, but no one acts drunk. Twists are easy to predict, which younger viewers may find reassuring.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
From executive producer Steven Spielberg as well as Edward Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz (the writing team behind Lost and Once Upon a Time), AMAZING STORIES is a remake of the series of the same name that aired from 1985 to 1987. Expect the unexpected on this anthology show, where the ordinary rules of reality are suspended, and magic and mystery rule. Each hour-long episode is different, and many star recognizable actors like Edward Burns and Josh Holloway.
Is it any good?
Anthology shows that take on sci-fi/fantasy stories are often a treat with highs and lows that vary by episode, but unfortunately this retread of the hit '80s series feels stale. "Protagonist goes back in time and strange events ensue" is a setup that vintage anthology shows like The Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents returned to again and again, but even The Twilight Zone, arguably the greatest anthology of all time, found that it had diminishing returns. It's possible to take that same setup and turn it into something fresh, but the Amazing Stories episode that uses it doesn't quite manage it, instead presenting a story with an expected twist.
In addition, though it's been reported that the modern Amazing Stories has been expensively made (reportedly $5 million per episode), it's not obvious looking at the screen. The costumes seem half-hearted, the settings fail to dazzle, and the special effects just aren't very special. Though Amazing Stories seemingly has enough talent behind the scenes to make it happen, something went wrong, rendering the title ironic instead of prophetic.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this show's version of reality. Do the characters on Amazing Stories lead lives that reflect your impression of reality? Do you think people turn to entertainment for a reflection of their own lives or an escape from it?
What do you think the intention of Amazing Stories is? Does it offer any positive lessons you can relate to your own life? Which of your favorite shows would you say has educational qualities?
The episodes are all different, but many center on common themes, such as selfish people finally getting what they deserve, or the unexpected rewards of doing the right thing. Did the characters merit their punishments? Why or why not? What might you have done in a similar situation? What point is the show trying to make?
Families can talk about the difficult choices characters are faced with in Amazing Stories, and whether or not they were wise to make those choices. How might things have turned out differently if another path was taken? What sort of themes did you pick up from each episode?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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