A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Biohackers is a German sci-fi mystery series about scientists who work with biotechnology (tech that uses live animals and humans to make products). The drama is formatted like a puzzle box show, like Lost or Westworld, in that a lot of action happens out of context, only for the details to get filled in as the show progresses. Biohackers features a lot of fictional cutting-edge technology that is used in dangerous ways, from body mutilation and animal experimentation to drug use. The central event appears to be a biological attack that ends with a train full of mortally ill passengers. Biohackers also features moderate profanity ("f--k" and "s--t") and sexual content includes dialogue about sex, sex noises heard through the walls, and glimpses of nudity. The characters engage in heavy drinking and drug use.
What's the story?
BIOHACKERS begins with pre-med student Mia Ackerland (Luna Wedler) attempting to help a train full of people who suddenly become mysteriously ill. Then the story jumps forward or backward in time to Mia's arrival at college, where she meets her eccentric, bio-tech obsessed roommate Niklas (Thomas Prenn) and potential love interest in fellow biology student Jasper (Adrian Julius Tillmann). Her talent and tenacity earns her an opportunity with the illustrious Professor Tanja Lorenz (Jessica Schwarz), who conducts genetic experiments and may have a secret connection with the train incident.
Is it any good?
Puzzle box shows -- which rely on a twist at the end of the season that puts everything that preceded it into a surprising new context -- tend to suffer from a lack of actual drama. They can often be too invested in world-building or setting up mysteries to attend to their characters, so there's nothing to latch onto besides the promise of the twist. Biohackers may ultimately suffer the same fate, but its inventive filmmaking and cyberpunk touches are immediately more promising than similar shows like Westworld or Devs. Best of all, it gives its lead, Mia, more than enough relatable motivation to keep viewers intrigued as they discover how all the different strands of action fit together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about technology. How is technology used on Biohackers? What are some examples of biotechnology seen in the show? Do any of these practices exist in real life?
What are the dangers of mixing technology with living things? Do any of these dangers show up in Biohackers? How do the different characters feel about biotechnology? How does this inform their actions throughout the show?
Biohackers presents a few mysteries in the first episode. What are some of the questions you have about what's happening in the show? How do you think it all fits together?
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