A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This over-the-top violent, sexual, and purposely offensive (some would say provocative) show has no intention of providing any positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Even the good guys are brutal and duplicitous, and main character Grace is an unrepentant murderer (even if she is trying to win the race to get the money her sister needs). Contracrime cop Arthur is the closest thing to a role model but even he uses violence as the means to an end, despite telling a colleague that he wants to make their violent world less violent. The cast boasts some racial and ethnic diversity but main characters are nearly all white.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is as brutal as cable TV will allow with stabbings, amputations, bludgeoning, gouting blood, gore, knocks to the face that leave victims spitting teeth, sudden and violent deaths. A man in the midst of an attempted rape is stabbed several times in the crotch; multiple screaming victims are pushed into whirling knives to provide blood to power a car; we see a shower of blood and clumps of bloody tissue flying. Police officers have high-tech pistols that can make those shot fly through the air or fall over dead instantly with no blood; they are authorized to beat suspects on the spot as a punishment and instructed by their superiors to collect a quota of teeth each week from roughed-up suspects. Characters are in almost constant danger, both from the ravages of a dangerous apocalyptic society and from violent attacks. Some characters are androids who bleed orange and green "blood."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Opposite and same-sex kissing and canoodling; characters have sex with moaning and thrusting (no private parts are visible); female characters are frequently shown in short, tight, revealing oufits with the camera panning up and down their bodies; a man flirts with a woman and then calls her a "bitch" when she rejects his advances; a man holds a box cutter to a woman's throat during a rape attempt; a man kisses a woman who is held by two thugs as she squirms and calls him an "a--hole." A man is visible nude from the rear at length during a shower.
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Cursing includes "hell," "s--t," "ass," "f--k," "damn," "bulls---t," "bastards," "sons of bitches," "a--hole," "motherf--ker," a man calls a woman a "bitch" when she doesn't respond to his advances. A man calls an audience "road trash" and "queers" in jest.
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Products & Purchases
Faux commercials during the show for products like a blood-removing stain fighter may help viewers look at other advertisements more critically.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Traditional drugs no longer exist, but alcohol is still plentiful and a drug called Red Rapture is popular. One law enforcement officer advises another to "get drunk as hell" to show he's a regular guy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blood Drive is a show that pushes cable network boundaries on sex, language, and most particularly, violence. The main story involves a road race with cars that run on human blood, requiring many murders to get "fuel." Characters are fed face- or feet-first into whirling knives, with fountains of spurting blood, screams, clumps of gory flesh, engine parts clotted and slicked with blood. There are crotch-stabbings, amputations, an attempted rape that ends up in the would-be rapist being fed to the "victim's" car. Law enforcement in this futuristic society is privatized and violent; officers are expected to collect teeth knocked out of the mouths of roughed-up suspects. Characters have sex with moaning and thrusting (no nudity), including while operating a moving car. Cursing includes "hell," "s--t," "ass," "f--k," "damn," "bulls---t," "bastards," "sons of bitches," "a--hole," "motherf--ker." A man calls an audience "road trash" and "queers." Most traditional street drugs are obsolete in this show, but characters use a faux drug called Red Rapture, and drink liquor (though water is more valuable). This show satirizes the exploitation genre, but it's just as violent and definitely not for kids.
Is It Any Good?
Disgusting, gory, and morally bankrupt, this gonzo series is nonetheless a lot of fun for viewers who aren't turned off by its more over-the-top aspects. At its best, Blood Drive is a messy, intense, gasp-inducing good time. Showrunner James Roland (formerly a production assistant on Mad Men and Weeds) is clearly a drive-in movie fan, proving it by paying homage to a different grindhouse genre in each episode: The show's pilot is a road adventure (like Death Race, or the drive-in classic on which this remake was based, Death Race 2000); subsequent episodes tackle zombie movies, toxic mutant monsters, and spaghetti westerns. The show has a (gross-out) sense of humor too, wringing cringes and laughs from scenes like the one in which a "gentlemanly" driver promises a rival he'll leave a carload of cheerleaders alive -- but then amputates their fingers and tongues the moment that rival has driven down the road.
Blood Drive has also done some thinking about what life might be like for average folks in this horrendous future world, where water is dispensed by ATMs, teens can be executed for crimes, and cranial implants can be programmed to make someone's head explode. The road antics are good gory fun, but equally interesting (in a RoboCop sort of way) are the less-manic scenes that imagine the real-life ramifications of a broken world. It's all a bunch of crazy nonsense, and even gore-hounds will have to look away during some bloody scenes -- but it's go-for-broke enjoyable mayhem for those who like that sort of thing. Just be sure to wait to watch until the kids are in bed.
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.