A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Detailed look at the life of Benjamin Franklin, including his work as a writer, scientist, diplomat, and statesman who helped created the United States of America.
Paints a biographical picture of Benjamin Franklin that is separate from the many historical tales told about him. Some are positive, some are less so.
Positive Role Models
Benjamin Franklin is characterized as very intelligent, knowledgeable of many things, of great wit, and a patriot. He's also characterized as a man who was not always committed to his family, and who could be unforgiving. He was also a slave owner, and did not view women as being equal to men, which was typical for the time.
The paradox surrounding Franklin and slavery is discussed, and the role of free slaves in the American Revolution is briefly mentioned.
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Violence & Scariness
The death of a child is discussed. The violence of the American Revolution, including the confinement and execution of soldiers and officers, is also a topic.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some innuendo as it relates to flirtations and having children out of wedlock. Franklin's common-law marriage is also discussed.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are references to drinking ale and people getting drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the documentary Benjamin Franklin contains lots of biographical details about Franklin's life, some of which address topics like common-law marriage, strong flirtations, and having children out of wedlock. Conversations about death (including that of a child), war violence, and drunken behavior, are also had. All of this is offered in a historical context.
Is It Any Good?
The thoughtful four-hour docuseries offers an in-depth examination of Benjamin Franklin's complex life, revealing the imperfect man behind his larger-than-life legacy. It discusses how he distinguished himself as a printer, writer, scientist, inventor, publisher, philosopher, diplomat, and statesman throughout his life. The show sheds more light on some of Franklin's better-known work, including the publishing of Poor Richard's Almanack, his experiments with electricity, and of course, his work on the Declaration of Independence. It also details how Franklin was able to create a public persona that has been both popularized and romanticized over centuries. But Benjamin Franklin does not shy away from revealing the polymath's many flaws, like being a slave owner despite his belief in natural human rights, and being a less-than-ideal husband and father. These conversations are not intended to villainize him, nor do they minimize Franklin's many outstanding accomplishments. Instead, they offer an honest portrayal of who he was, separating the real man from an idealized national legacy.
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.