Blackstone

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Blackstone TV Poster Image
Drama's worthy themes include frank depictions of addiction.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

There's a glimmer of hope at play, but the show's main themes center on boredom, desperation, and negativity in the Native American community, and, most of all, the corruption that keeps things from getting much better.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Leona is a strong and inspiring role model who's principled, fair, and brave. But she and those who share her values are up against a daunting and corrupt villain who will do anything to protect the status quo. Other characters have admirable qualities but struggle with addiction, depression, and other personal demons.

 

Violence

Violence is mainly in the form of threats (rocks through windows, verbal sparring). There's also an implied violent rape, and a teen character commits suicide.

Sex

Sexual acts are rare and are suggested rather than shown. Some sexual innuendo, kissing.

Language

Unbleeped language includes "f--k," "s--t," "prick," and "bitch." Usage is pretty frequent.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Graphic depictions of abuse with dire consequences. Both adults and teens turn to alcohol (beer, liquor) and drugs (glue sniffing) to cope with hopelessness, boredom, and depression. Several characters have problems with addiction.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blackstone is an edgy ensemble drama set in Canada, exploring systemic problems on a fictional First Nation reserve and a small group's desire to effect positive change. There are frank depictions of alcohol and drug abuse -- including binge drinking and glue sniffing -- and some of the most disturbing scenes involve teens. There's also a fair amount of unbleeped language, from "bitch" to "f--k," along with a death by suicide stemming from a teen character's rape.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byArindam B. November 26, 2017

Blackstone is a pathbreaker

Amazing sandwich of some pretty trite film making combined with character development that goes way beyond what we've learnt from the masters including Dav... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In the wake of a teen's tragic suicide, a small group of members -- including addiction counselor Leona Stoney (Carmen Moore) and activist filmmaker Victor Merasty (Nathaniel Arcand) -- band together to change the political power structure within the BLACKSTONE First Nation reserve. But ousted chief Andy Fraser's (Eric Schweig) corruption runs so deep that it takes more than one election to take him and his cronies down.

Is it any good?

Some critics have described this award-winning independent drama as the "Canadian Sopranos." And, although the writing and acting aren't always on that scale, it's not an unfair comparison. One of the best things to say about Blackstone, however, is that it doesn't really compare to anything that's come before it. Thanks in large part to head writer Ron E. Scott, a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, the series is tackling long-overdue topics in a refreshingly honest way from the perspective of aboriginals.

Although adults make up the bulk of Blackstone's audience, kids are involved in many of the storylines, including a sobering rape and suicide, a child-abuse investigation, and scenes showing heavy recreational drug use and drinking. More mature teens will see characters' risky behavior as part of the cautionary tale they're meant to tell, but the only way you’ll know for sure is to watch with them and talk about it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Blackstone's portrayals of reservation life, particularly the way teens spend their time. How would growing up on a reservation like the one in the show affect your future -- and would you feel like you even had one? What are the obstacles young Native American people face, and is it possible to break the cycle of self-destruction?

  • Do Blackstone's realistic depictions of drug use and alcoholism run the risk of being instructive for impressionable young viewers? How often do characters who abuse substances on the show face negative consequences? How accurate is the series' take on addiction as it relates to native communities, and is there any stereotyping?

  • How does Blackstone compare to other movies and TV series that have attempted to explore native cultures? Does the fact that the story is told from an aboriginal point of view make a difference in the way Native American characters and their problems are portrayed?

TV details

For kids who love drama

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