Babylon

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Babylon TV Poster Image
Deeply British, pretty violent dark comedy about police.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It highlights some of the issues and challenges British police face when doing their job. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some officers and staff are more likable than others; all are committed to their jobs. 

Violence

Shootings, savage beatings, and other acts visible; little blood. 

Sex

Brief partial nudity (bare buttocks). Sexual jokes and crude references to genitals. 

Language

Curses like "s--t," "f--k" frequent. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional drinking (beer, cocktails). 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sundance TV's Babylon is a British comedy-drama series that looks at the day-to-day exploits of the struggling London Metropolitan Police. There's lots of cursing ("s--t," "f--k"), occasional brief nudity (bare bottoms), and some crude sexual innuendo. There are also some very violent moments, including severe beatings and shootings, but with little blood. It's not meant for kids, but older teens interested in shows from across the pond may be able to handle it. 

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What's the story?

Co-executive produced by Slumdog Millionaire's Danny Boyle, BABYLON is a British dramatic comedy that looks at the day-to-day exploits of the London Metropolitan Police. When traditional methods fail to rescue the Met Police's reputation as an inept organization after a series of police shootings and subsequent escalations of violence, Commissioner Richard Miller (James Nesbitt) hires American PR social media specialist Liz Garvey (Brit Marling) to improve their overall image. While she deals with the bitter communications deputy Finn Kirkwood (Bertie Carvel), the Commissioner tries to adjust to Garvey's more modern ways while keeping staff like Deputy Commissioner Charles Inglis (Paterson Joseph) and Assistant Commissioner Sharon Franklin (Nicola Walker). Meanwhile, their street teams, which include officers like firearms expert Robbie (Adam Deacon) and Armed Response Officer Warwick (Nick Blood), must contend with the new edicts being handed down to them from Scotland Yard. Doing their jobs gets even harder thanks to an ambitious documentarian (Daniel Kaluuya) who is recording their every move.

Is it any good?

The dark series highlights some of the real challenges of day-to-day law enforcement, ranging from protecting the public and dealing with political pressure to coping with the fallout when their mistakes are recorded and go viral. But thanks to the show's deadpan humor, a British comedy trademark, there's enough comic relief to lighten things up a bit. 

Some of the storylines seem unpolished and struggle to find the balance between drama and comedy. Meanwhile, many of the issues dealt with are deeply rooted in British culture, and the heavy accents may pose a challenge to all but the most dedicated Anglophiles. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a solid cop show from across the pond, you will definitely find it here. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the difference between American and British TV. Is there anything American TV can show that the British can't? Why? 

  • Do you think this series offers a fair representation of law enforcement? How are the people on the police force depicted? 

TV details

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