Castle Rock

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Castle Rock TV Poster Image
Parents recommend
Tense Stephen King spin-off fun for fans, has some violence.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Like a lot of Stephen King works, it deals with characters attempting to live morally in an often amoral universe. Positive messages aren't always overt, but come up -- e.g., in the fight for a prisoner's rights, or when characters try to reconcile past wrongs. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main characters are all deeply flawed, but there's opportunity for the leads to have redemptive arcs.


Bursts of violence (a gunfight, a suicide), but most of the horror is psychological.


No sex is present beyond maybe some flirting.


Occasional bursts of profanity: "f--k," "s--t," "damn."


No consumerism present, except for being promotion for Stephen King's books.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters hang out and drink in bars, but no one drinks to excess. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Castle Rock is a psychological horror drama about a town where many of Stephen King's most famous novels and short stories have taken place. King and producer J.J. Abrams seem to be testing the waters to see if an extended Stephen King universe can support a franchise, the way that Marvel and Star Wars do, for example. There are references to other Stephen King works -- Cujo, The Shawshank Redemption, etc. -- though you don't need to be familiar with them to enjoy this show. It most closely resembles a detective show, with most scenes revolving around conversation or investigation, and a few flurries of action and intense violence. That said, for a show built around tension, it's surprisingly light on other edgy material, but there are occasional bursts of profanity: "f--k," "s--t," "damn."

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEllen C. October 23, 2019

Nudity, more violence in second season

First season was 5 stars for me, second season started off well but there's more gore by the end of the first episode and nudity (bare breasts) in the seco... Continue reading
Adult Written byCapote Jones August 15, 2018


It takes way too long to get to the point. Throughout the 1st six episodes it's hard to tell what is going on. It seems like we won't know any real... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySupernova07 June 29, 2020


It’s a really smart horror show, combining a lot of mystery elements. Very violent, lots of stabbings, shootings, suicide, and gore. Also lots of swearing. I ho... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written by0.2 July 25, 2018

What's the story?

When the warden of Shawshank State Penitentiary dies, his successor discovers that an entire wing of the prison has been vacant for 30 years, except for one mysterious inhabitant they call "The Kid." Henry Deaver (André Holland), a death-row attorney who grew up in nearby CASTLE ROCK, returns home to represent The Kid, who seems to have been abused in Shawshank. Castle Rock has a long history of mysterious, possibly supernatural, occurrences and, sure enough, strange things start to happen in the prison and in the town after The Kid appears. Deaver also must reconcile his own mysterious past in Castle Rock, and salvage his relationships with his adopted mother (Sissy Spacek), the former sheriff (Scott Glenn), and a childhood friend (Melanie Lynskey) who may be psychic.

Is it any good?

Storywise, this series is mostly boilerplate Stephen King material: a story about a mysterious outsider who may have supernatural powers that may or may not erupt in violence and tragedy. But Hulu has clearly invested a lot into Castle Rock, beginning with a killer cast of TV character actors like Holland, Lynskey, Scott Glenn (The Leftovers), Terry O'Quinn (Lost), and the legendary Sissy Spacek, who helped jumpstart Stephen King's movie career with her performance in Carrie. And their presence is needed, because Castle Rock consists mainly of conversations and investigation, the way a detective show would, as we slowly learn more and more about the extensive, eerie history of the town. The slow, deliberate pace does create a good amount of tension, and when things erupt, King's stories deliver the unsettling and terrifying moments you'd expect.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the mysteries of Castle Rock. Who is "The Kid"? Where did he come from, and what does he want? What happened to Henry Deaver when he was a kid and how does it affect him now?

  • How do the citizens of Castle Rock deal with trauma? Many mysterious and tragic events have occurred in this town. How do people cope with that? Are they coping in a healthy way? How does Castle Rock's past inform its present?

  • There are hints that something supernatural could be causing all of the mysterious events that have taken place in Castle Rock. Do you believe that? What could it be?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary TV

Themes & Topics

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