TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Californication TV Poster Image
Duchovny comedy could be called Sex Files.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 8 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main character is cynical and promiscious but has a good heart.


Some fistfights and wrestling; some consensual sexual violence.


Graphic sex, full female nudity, partial male nudity, explicit discussions about sex acts and sexual parts. Some discussion of teen sexuality. The main character sleeps with a teenager he assumed was of age.


Everything -- from "f--k" to "slut" -- is uncensored and frequent.


The show depicts lavish lifestyles.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent drinking and smoking. Some brief scenes of teen drug use (a bong is shown, as well as a line of a powdered drug).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the main character of this mature pay-cable comedy smokes cigarettes, acts hungover, receives oral sex from a nun (inside a church), curses prolifically, talks in detail about oral sex, and appears in bed with a topless woman whose husband comes home and chases him out of the house -- and that's just in the first few minutes of the pilot episode! The rest of the series follows much the same course, with lots of graphic sex, nudity (full female, partial male), uncensored swearing (including "f--k"), drinking, smoking, and drug use (some, briefly, by teens). The main character (an adult) also has sex with a teenager who he assumed was an adult.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymartineque May 3, 2021


I guess the title gives it away, but it is unbelievably pathetic what he gets up to - a very annoying actor who thinks he’s Gods gift in this programme and appa... Continue reading
Adult Written byhhm1992 August 30, 2012


"Californication" is one of my favorite shows of all time. The writing is brilliant and the characters, even at their worst, remain affable. As a 20... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byyayayayo June 15, 2016

Great Show

I watched this show in a week when I was thirteen. It was really entertaining and only talked about stuff I already knew about but gave me more detail. Nothing... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byzacpb19 August 16, 2012

What the show contains

Okay being a 17 year old and a mature 17 year old its safe to say this show is not for children what so ever but I am going to say that this is a very well writ... Continue reading

What's the story?

Hank Moody (David Duchovny) is a talented, successful writer in the midst of a personal crisis. His best-selling book has been turned into a Hollywood romantic comedy, hitting his sense of dignity in the gut. His ex, Karen (Natascha McElhone), is about to marry another guy, while his 12-year-old daughter, Becca (Madeleine Martin), is beginning to experiment with sexuality and parties. To deal with his writer's block and emotional struggles, Hank drinks and beds everything he can find -- and yet somehow remains likeable.

Is it any good?

Duchovny turns in a fabulously wry, cynical performance as Hank, a Los Angeles-based writer with a particularly active sex life, in this adults-only pay-cable series that packs brilliant humor, wild sex, and poignant moments into each half-hour episode. Along with the show's graphic sex scenes -- which feature full female and partial male nudity -- expect hilarious conversations between Hank and Karen, Hank and Becca, and Hank and his agent that bristle with brilliance.

Adults who are heading toward or in the midst of a midlife crisis will surely identify with Hank, even if he's cooler (and more messed up) than any normal viewer will ever be. Though teens might enjoy the witty repartee between Hank and his cohorts -- as well as the show's depictions of the wild lifestyle of a successful Hollywood player -- Californication's graphic sex (not to mention uncensored language, smoking, drinking, and drug use) will likely have parents saving this one for after kids of all ages are in bed.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how sex tends to be portrayed in the media. Do you think many real people are as sexually active as many movie and TV show characters? Do you consider these characters promiscuous? What are the consequences of sexual habits like Hank's? Though Hank says he's unhappy, he seems like he's having lots of fun having sex with multiple partners -- what do you think of that conflicting idea? Is there a "right" age to start having sex?

TV details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate