Channel Zero

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Channel Zero TV Poster Image
Internet-inspired fantasy horror has cursing, violence.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The supernatural exists, and it's not pretty.   

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mike Painter’s psychological well-being is in question. 

Violence

Themes include brutal child murders, an attempted suicide. Knives, blood, dead bodies, scary images abound.

Sex
Language

"Hell," "s--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine, beer occasionally consumed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Channel Zero is a horror series inspired by internet stories called "creepypasta," scary tales shared on message boards. It's full of creepy, supernatural events, some of which border on gruesome: Dead bodies, bloody images, suicide, and the murder of children, to name a few. Cursing includes "s--t" and occasionally drink beer and wine. Since lots of teens are fans of the creepypasta trend, they may be interested in this show; however, it's pretty scary, even for adults. 

User Reviews

Adult Written bychris d. October 13, 2016

It is a good show but will warn u it can be pretty scary

OK as u might expect from syfy this is a show that as entertaining as it might be its clear that it is not for everyone the dark town may even frighten the brav... Continue reading
Adult Written byDavis L. February 17, 2018
Teen, 13 years old Written byEllabella1 October 20, 2016

Fine for young teens

Its a really great show. It is very creepy/ disturbing. Although, if a teen has a good understanding that the show is fake, it should be fine!
Kid, 1 years old November 13, 2017

What's the story?

Based on an online story, CHANNEL ZERO is a show about a man's obsession with a mysterious children's TV show and its link to a series of child murders. Child psychologist Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) is haunted by death of his twin brother Eddie, the only unrecovered victim of the horrific Iron Hill murders that took place 28 years ago. He returns to his childhood home to see his mom, Marla Painter (Fiona Shaw), and to learn more about what happened, including why teeth were missing from the bodies of the recovered children. As he begins to interact with childhood friends, including Gary Yolen (Shaun Benson), now the local Sheriff, and his wife Jessica (Natalie Brown), strange things start to happen, including the random reappearance of Candle Cove, a creepy puppet-driven tv show that only aired during the time of the murders. Soon people question Mike's connection to the odd (and sometimes frightening) happenings, which sparks an investigation led by Deputy Amy Welsh (Luisa D’Oliveira), and forces him to face his monsters head on. 

Is it any good?

This dark series combines fantasy and horror to create a intense, bizarre, and definitely scary viewing experience. This is no surprise, given that it's adapted from creepypasta, or a short, internet-driven, user-generated horror story that's copied and pasted from site to site in order to scare people (think Slenderman). Using seemingly random flashbacks to parallel the events of Mike’s childhood with the present, the show often gives viewers a false sense of understanding, only to surprise them later on.

Channel Zero's story is a solid blend of supernatural scares and real-life mystery -- It also does a decent job at adapting the original creepypasta, which comes with its own unique narrative format and audience. It’s not for everyone, but folks who enjoy these kinds of scares may find themselves getting shivers. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Channel Zero's inspiration. Have you ever read any creepypasta? Why do you think some people like to be scared?

  • Families can also talk about how the internet can influence popular culture. Can you think of any other examples of this happening? 

TV details

For kids who love science fiction

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