A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
For kids who love drama
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