A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Black Narcissus is a tense drama about learning and respecting other cultures, and knowing when and how help is needed.
Positive Role Models
Characters are optimistic, generous, and charitable. They make mistakes but ultimately learn from them.
Violence & Scariness
Features minimal person-on-person violence, but there are some deaths by suicide, as well as injuries and illness.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual tension is a huge motif in Black Narcissus, which may only read to more mature viewers. Sexual content is limited to some quick shots of activities at a brothel.
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Profanity is occasionally used and includes "s--t," "damn," etc.
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Products & Purchases
It's an adaptation of a 1939 novel and reboot of a 1947 theatrical film.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking and drinking alcohol are sometimes shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Narcissus is a dramatic miniseries about a group of British nuns attempting to open up a school for children in the Himalayas. Adapted from the 1939 novel by Rumer Godden -- and subsequent 1947 film adaptation -- the series focuses largely on the cultural differences between Britain and India, the latter which was under British rule at the time the novel (and film) were released. The sisters are well-meaning but impose their ideals onto a rural community and end up doing more damage than good. Black Narcissus uses suspense, subtle eroticism, and even elements of horror to tell a fairly complex story, but the historical context may be lost on modern viewers.
Is It Any Good?
With many literary adaptions, it's always interesting to ask why. Why now? What does a 1939 novel about English nuns in the Himalayas have to say about life in the 21st century? Black Narcissus is about such a specific time and place, namely the end of the British occupation of India, that it's easy to ask why it might call for a modern remake. There's definitely an argument to be made that Black Narcissus's main theme -- the dangerous implications of one culture imposing its values onto another -- is extremely relevant to modern American discourse. But it's hard to argue that this version was made with that intention in mind. There's already a definitive version of Black Narcissus that is readily available to watch: the 1947 film starring Deborah Kerr, which premiered only a few months before India achieved independence. That adaption still looks and feels vital. The 2020 TV miniseries adds little to the 1947 version (aside from an extra hour of runtime), looks like it was inspired by the original's groundbreaking use of Technicolor, and has nothing new to say. Just like the mission in the novel, Black Narcissus 2020 is a futile endeavor.
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.