A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive Role Models
Timmy is unfailingly thoughtful, cheerful, and indomitable; Eliza is smart, dedicated, and passionate about helping her friends. Other characters are quirky but lovable, and they form a workplace family in a sweet way, mocking each other constantly but there for each other when the chips are down.
The cast includes both White actors and people of color, including an Asian man and Latino woman as main characters, and other people of color cast as their coworkers and other characters in the town, like J.B. Smoove (who's Black) as a party store owner.
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Violence & Scariness
Jokes can have a violent edge: At a store party, Eliza and Timmy ask a neighbor to host a shooting gallery and we see her cock her gun and stand ready to shoot.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two coworkers have a will-they-or-won't-they chemistry; viewers can expect that they will, and that there will be flirting, kissing, and romantic complications.
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Language and cursing includes "ass," "hell," and iffy slang like "sucks" and "pissed off."
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Products & Purchases
Many brands are mentioned: Netflix, WeWork, Buzzfeed, and of course Blockbuster.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Jokes circle around substance abuse: An abandoned store was once the area's finest "pill mill" (a medical office that fraudulently prescribes drugs, often opioids). For a party, Timmy and Eliza hire a bartender that we hear "serves everyone" as we see very young teens successfully presenting a clearly fake ID in a bar. Eliza jokes about Timmy doing "Whip-Its" (inhaling nitrous oxide) in high school. Scenes take place in bars, with characters drinking and getting expansive and sloppy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blockbuster is a workplace comedy about the last video rental store in a once-mighty chain. Both the show and the level of mature content seems like a throwback to network TV. The cast is diverse, with two people of color as main characters, and the vibe is positive and light, with problems that are minor and a cast stocked with lovable characters who make fun of each other yet are supportive and kind. Iffy content is usually in the form of jokes, with humor about drugs and drinking, guns, infidelity, and other topics. Scenes take place in bars, with coworkers drinking together to the point of slightly sloppy confessions. Language includes "hell," "ass," and "sucks."
Is It Any Good?
Just like Blockbuster stores themselves, this Netflix series chronicling the last of the big-time video rental stores is a throwback, in ways both pleasant and otherwise. On the plus side, cast members like Randall Park and Melissa Fumero are pros at putting over a line, and the coworkers have great chemistry in a way that will remind many viewers of modern classic workplace comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation. Like these shows, too, Blockbuster's characters are lovable in an entirely predictable way: You know you can expect clueless-but-adorable pep from Timmy, Kayla (Kamaia Fairburn) will always throw in some shade, Eliza is brainy but self-sabotaging, and so on. For these reasons, Blockbuster can feel like a warm and comforting bath that's nice to soak in.
However, the writing and jokes aren't as sharp as either of those classics, and though it has the comic rhythms and setups honed to perfection on sitcoms like Friends (line, joke, joke, big topper), the jokes generally provide smiles instead of laughs. There are additionally logic traps: Why does a failing store in a falling-down part of town have six employees on the floor at all times? What's the meta meaning behind Netflix hosting a show about the video store most think it killed? Of course, other beloved shows are just as illogical (a documentary crew filmed an office for 9 YEARS?), but if we were more swept away by the comedy we wouldn't notice the unevenness. As it is, Blockbuster feels like a series that can grow on you, but viewers might not be entertained enough to want to put in the time to let that happen.
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.
Suggest an Update
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