Sometimes-scary fantasy is a mash-up of monsters and myths.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Major themes include the importance of family, friendship, and teamwork. Honor tends to win out over evil.

Positive role models

Jason is a loyal and sympathetic character, and he and his new ancient friends make obvious attempts to do the right thing -- and they usually succeed.


Fantasy violence includes encounters with monsters and mythical creatures, a few of which are pretty scary. Weapons are pulled, and there's hand-to-hand combat but minimal bloodletting.


Light sexual innuendo with occasional romantic subplots.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Allusions to drunkenness but no real on-screen activity.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Atlantis -- while it's based on ancient myths and historical characters -- takes a lot of dramatic liberties when it comes to the facts, so it's best to take its plot lines with a grain of salt. The violence is fantasy-grade, so you'll see some scary monsters and mythical creatures along with characters who use weapons (although there's very little blood). You'll also find romantic subplots with light sexual innuendo and some allusions to drunkenness.

What's the story?

When Jason (Jack Donnelly) jumps into a small submarine to look for clues to his missing father's whereabouts, he finds himself standing on the shores of ATLANTIS, an ancient city brimming with familiar names and fantastical creatures. But, while Jason's new friends Hercules (Mark Addy) and Pythagorus (Robert Emms) help him right wrongs all over town, he must continue his search for the truth about his origins.

Is it any good?


Judging from the special effects alone -- which, at times, are downright goofy -- Atlantis was clearly not intended to impress. But it was engineered to entertain families with older kids, and it pulls that off with reasonable success thanks to a trio of likable do-gooders, an ever-rotating stable of evildoers, and a much-needed splash of comedy.

Since Atlantis takes so many liberties with figures and facts, it's not the best place to go hunting for historical accuracy. For one thing, it has Hercules hanging out with Pythagoras (yes, the same guy who gave us that nifty theorem) and getting the hots for a yet-to-be-snake-haired Medusa, ignoring the fact that none of them ever would have known each other. But, on the upside, it just might inspire kids to do their own research and uncover a world that's rich in myth and fantasy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Greek myths and historical figures Atlantis is based on. How accurate is the show's take on ancient history? What are the downsides to taking creative liberties with actual events? What are the upsides?

  • How does fantasy violence compare to real violence? Does exposure to fantasy violence promote violent behavior in real life?

  • How does Atlantis compare to other movies and television series set in ancient times? In your opinion, is it a good "family show"?

TV details

Cast:Jack Donnelly, Mark Addy, Robert Emms
Network:BBC America
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Great boy role models, History
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Atlantis was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byrakshq October 14, 2015

An intense drama based on the lost city of Atlantis by the creators of Merlin

I am giving the highest age rating because what CSM's own review does not tell you is that there are some very graphic torture scenes that I was very fazed by and I don't think I am sensitive saying that I think any decent human being would be traumatized by it let alone children. One is where a black man is strung up like a turkey shirtless and even though we don't see them touch him, it is implied strongly right up to the last second where a soldier does go in to touch and torture the crap out of him. Then Pasiphae the witch comes in and tortures him with Magic and here it is extremely disturbing to watch as his screams are so so pitiful as he writhes in agony "Please STOP STOP!" and he cries and it is very sadistic. Pasiphae later stabs him to death and we see her approach him with a knife and camera unfocused at the last minute. There are quite a few scenes exactly like this and the princess Ariadne herself is physically tortured later on. I do not know how anyone can think this is suitable for children of any is even disturbing for adults to watch. Don't get me wrong I know that torture might be a part of a story but these are the same creators of Merlin and in Merlin there were plenty of torture scenes like with Gaius and several several others but they keep it pretty clean on the whole except in perhaps the final episode but still emphasize how severe the torture was like with one of the knights Gaius tells us he was tortured to the maximum human capacity so we know. So in my opinion there is never ever any need to show such disturbing scenes and it is more than enough to imply it and just tell us. And I would let a much younger kid perhaps aged 14+ to watch Merlin. Other than that while still there is little other violence but there is a lot of implied violence. There is no sexual content except some steamy kissing and flirting. The stories are very warped and twisted and at the end of the final series we are back to where we started! Jason is shockingly too emotionally attached to this Pasiphae (his birth mother) to kill her even though he knows how she severely tortured his own girlfriend to breaking point and is killing 1000s of people. Jason also is shown stealing things like food, lying and cheating etc so not a good role model for kids!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old January 10, 2015

a Stupid show to watch when your bored

Atlantis is a good show, but it's also kind of stupid. Like the main character getting hit in the arm with an arrow and then wrenching it out like he's not undergoing any pain. Sometimes characters will be drunk or pretend to be drunk and other times it shows some intimidating monsters.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byworldwar2 August 6, 2014

Relaxing Show

I think Atlantis is a good show to relax to if you are tired but not for learning unless if you are interested in greek myths and gods. Sometimes it can be violent with sword-fighting and sometimes one of the co-characters gets drunk but otherwise it is suitable for mature 11 to 12 year olds. (There isn't much sex apart from kissing and the violence is not too gruesome.)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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