A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The values of hard work and dedication to one's job are stressed. The messages around mental illness are complicated, and sometimes the episodes of illness are glamorized, though viewers also see consequences of problematic acts. Viewers also see irresponsible sexual activity and questionable decisions around medication.
Positive Role Models
Catherine Black is a realistic character struggling with mental illness. Sometimes she fails, sometimes she succeeds. Her episodes of manic illness include random sexual activity. She's also a caring and successful doctor.
Violence & Scariness
Several references and visuals related to the death of a main character's parent. Black sometimes threatens suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Black gets "hypersexual" during her manic phases and we see many references to sex, including couples in bed, kissing passionately against a wall, gathering clothing discarded wildly, couples gyrating in lingerie, etc. No nudity.
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Some cursing, including "damn" and "hell." Black frequently calls herself a "bitch," and is called a "bitch" by others. There's additional salty language like "douchebag."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some scenes take place in bars, with characters drinking. Black frequently skips the medication she takes for her bipolar disorder because she likes to feel the high of her brain chemistry.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Box is a mature medical drama about a neurologist who struggles with bipolar disorder. She often skips her medication and becomes manic, unpredictable, and sexually voracious. We see her dancing down streets, perching dangerously on the edge of a tall building, coming on to strangers, going to hotels with men and kissing them up against walls and on beds. Parents may worry that her manic phases look glamorous and fun. However, viewers also see the consequences of her acts. There is some cursing, including frequent references to main character Black as a "bitch." The parent of one of the main characters killed herself; there are frequent visual and dialogue references to this, and the main character threatens suicide.
Is It Any Good?
When Black is in one of her manic highs, she really makes it look good. She slinks down alleyways and through hotel lobbies, drunk on her own chemistry. She dances, she flirts, she has fantasies about flying over cities as she's precariously perched on a balcony railing. These dark episodes are what gives Black Box its juice: You never know when Black is going to break off from handling her family members or patients and go take a taxi to a nightclub to pick up a sailor. Reilly is compelling in such moments, and it turns what could have been a retread of House into something more interesting.
However, it's not for the youngest members of your household. Black's Jekyll-Hyde behavior is confusing for young viewers, and parents won't want them to see Black in her wacky and sexual highs, nor flushing her medication down the toilet. There's also a lot of medical jargon, complicated family dynamics, and philandering that make this one not for kiddies.
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.