Being Serena

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Being Serena TV Poster Image
Tennis champ's personal journey features grown-up themes.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Motherhood, marriage, family, and negotiating these things effectively are all themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Serena Williams is committed to being a good athlete and a good mother. 

Violence

Injuries, near-fatal health problems discussed. 

Sex

Pregnancy, marriage discussed. 

Language

The occasional “damn.”

Consumerism

The series promotes Serena Williams. Tennis logos like Wilson visible, but not featured. Alexis Ohanian is the co-founder of Reddit. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Being Serena is a documentary series featuring legendary athlete Serena Williams as she deals with motherhood, health issues, marriage, and the pressures of being an elite tennis player. The word “damn” is occasionally (and quietly) used, and mild exchanges are sometimes visible. Logos for Wilson, Nike, and other tennis sponsors visible in archived footage, but not prominently featured. It's an interesting glimpse into the life of a hardworking sports star's personal life, but some of the conversations may be too grown up for her younger fans. 

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What's the story?

BEING SERENA is a documentary series that chronicles tennis player Serena Williams’ life following some major life changes. Immediately before winning her record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title in 2017, Williams discovers that she's pregnant. As she faces new motherhood, copes with post-pregnancy health complications, and embraces married life with internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, she wonders if she will be able to return to tennis and remain on top of her game. Viewers learn even more about her life through interviews with people close to her, including her husband, her agent Jill Smoller, and her sister, Venus.  

Is it any good?

This intimate docu-series serves as a visual journal in which an introspective Serena Williams makes sense of the unexpected turns in her life. She shares her thoughts and reveals some of her fears about becoming a mother and wife. But as an elite athlete, Williams also finds herself negotiating her desire to be a good mother with the pressures of reconditioning her body in order to return to her sport and win more titles. 

Each 30-minute installment features lots of up-close-and-personal moments, thanks to cameras following her while she has conversations with family members, goes to the hospital to give birth, and works out. But there are lots of quiet moments, too, during which time Williams breaks the fourth wall and shares some of her private thoughts about what is happening. Being Serena is a personal journey that might appeal to the curious, and which openly invites her fans to watch and enjoy. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to be an elite athlete. What kinds of health challenges can result from the kind of training they do? How hard is it to get their bodies to work the same after injuries, health issues, or having a baby?

  • Why do you think Serena Williams wanted to share more of her story in Being Serena? Are there other sports stars you'd like to know more about? 

TV details

For kids who love sports heroes

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