No reviews yet.Add your rating
Based on 1 review
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
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
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 Calls is a disturbing, mysterious limited series in which all the plot and character development are conveyed through phone calls. Think of it as a radio or podcast drama that has laser show-style graphics meant to enhance the mood and outline the relationship between the callers. There's some foul language (mostly "f--k" and "s--t") in reaction to situations that are scary and bizarre (time travel, people seeming to appear in multiple places simultaneously, a neighbor who wants a character to tend to millions of dollars in cash). Many of the stories are violent -- we hear about a bloody, mangled body in one episode and the aftermath of a jet plane crash in another.
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
CALLS is a limited series that's just phone calls, as you'd hear them -- no actors or sets appear -- between people facing mysterious horror. The calls, each 15 to 20 minutes long, are standalone episodes but they're also part of a larger story, as viewers (listeners?) learn in the final two episodes. Yes, this is on television, but the visuals are non-figurative lines and colors reminiscent of a laser light show, along with the text of the dialogue and IDs of who's talking. It feels more like an enhanced radio show or podcast that features many popular actors, including Lily Collins, Rosario Dawson, Pedro Pascal, and Aubrey Plaza.
Is It Any Good?
A TV show that doesn't show you what's happening turns out to be surprisingly effective for horrific stories because your imagination fills in the visual blanks in this tautly written limited series. Based on the French series of the same name, Calls, from Fede Álvarez (Don't Breathe), connects you to each story quickly using text to disclose the location and who's on the call. Each call is a gripping 15- to 20-minute standalone story, but if you make it to the end of the nine episodes that are thematically similar, a mystery is solved.
Though you could just listen to episodes as you would a radio or podcast series, the abstract, colorful, dynamic visuals complement the dialogue as music might. As Calls was released a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be easy to assume the production was a coronavirus compromise. Apparently, though, it was always intended to be a picture-free show, a uniquely unsettling premise that happened to coincide with a uniquely unsettling time.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how just hearing audio -- and not seeing the confusing, often violent suggested imagery -- strikes you differently than seeing the images on the screen.
Is this series scary? Are the scares physical or more implied? Is it fun to be spooked by movies or TV shows, even just a little? Kids: What types of violence or scary content bothers you the most?
- Premiere date: March 19, 2021
- Cast: Nick Jonas, Joey King, Lily Collins
- Network: Apple TV+
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
The Twilight Zone
Classic morality tales still make you think.
Spellbinding Spielberg series has some lessons, too.
Brilliant sci-fi drama for brave teens and up.
British sci-fi series is violent and thought-provoking.
For kids who love spooky mysteries
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