A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Kids see peers find common ground in a shared interest and form friendships that overcome their differences. When faced with knowledge that they might be the only ones to safeguard their town from doom, they set aside their fear and try to solve the mystery.
Positive Role Models
The fact that the teens persevere through their fear to try to find answers helps compensate for the fact that most adult characters come across as oblivious and ineffective.
Violence & Scariness
Constant creepy themes and sinister happenings surrounding Rachel's nightmares becoming reality. Jump scares (people suddenly appearing, other surprises). Breaks from reality in which teens see things that immediately disappear. Lots of instances of mysterious happenings like pictures disappearing from "Missing" posters, a carnival ride that begins to disassemble without human intervention. Zombies, evil clowns, other costumed characters loom and leer. Some physically intimidating occurrences, as when a creature tries to pull Rachel into the water. Tense chase scenes and threat of kidnapping. Rachel especially responds to the terror by sweating, breathing heavily.
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Products & Purchases
The series is a reboot of a 1990s show of the same name.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a reboot of the same-named teen-geared 1990s horror series. The show is very scary -- not in the blood-and-gore sense, but in the creepy, mysterious style that implies terror and messes with your sense of reality. There are some physical frights, too: bumps in the night, clowns that leer at and chase teens, a zombie who tries to drag a girl into the water, and plenty of jump scares, as well as the implication of people's disappearances. Perhaps scariest of all is the basic premise that a person's nightmares can come true. This fantastic series is best reserved for older tweens and teens who can handle the content. Those who watch will also notice how the Midnight Society is a great equalizer for its members and allows them to relate to each other, despite differences in their social standing.
Is It Any Good?
This self-contained three-part series is shivery, quivery fun for tweens and teens who like scares. Viewers are introduced to Rachel, a thoroughly sympathetic new kid in town who doesn't make acquaintances easily but falls into a group of like-minded horror fans and discovers the kind of friendships she's longed for. Unfortunately her happiness is short-lived, as the Midnight Society members threaten to turn on her when she can't explain how her nightmares wind up threatening their town in a very real way. As they attempt to solve the mystery and get drawn into the fearsome happenings, Rachel becomes more concerned with keeping her friends alive than with keeping her friendships going.
Are You Afraid of the Dark? takes a refreshing stance on the diversity of the characters; both boys and girls are represented, and there are notable racial and social status differences among them, all of which reminds viewers that people can relate to each other on various levels despite what separates them. It also does a good job escalating the fear without actual violence. Most of what scares here is the power of suggestion, the hint of the unexplained, and the characters' visceral reactions to what they see and hear. Depending on your tweens' sensitivities, this may make it a slightly safer option than a show with more physical violence. Ultimately it's a real know-your-kid scenario; the scares are real, so knowing up front whether these kind of scares will affect yours is the key.
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.