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 this sci-fi series has lots of action sequences, as well as a good bit of violence, drinking, and sex. The main character's exploits in the underworld sometimes include scenes that could be tough for younger teens, including rape, murder, and images of dead bodies in a morgue. Because the show involves frequent traveling back and forth between parallel universes, it can get confusing. Some characters know when they're shifting to another universe, but others don't and are clearly baffled. The portals to the various universes are controlled by a powerful company that seems to be above the law. Characters in the show's world are born into a rigid class system.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Private investigator CHARLIE JADE is a man trapped between worlds. While trying to solve the murder of a young woman whose name doesn't appear in any known database, Jade (Jeffrey Pierce) discovers that the powerful Vexcor Corporation has developed a way to steal natural resources from parallel universes. Jade realizes that people can also move between these alternate worlds, and he teams up with Reena (Patricia McKenzie), a woman from one of them, to stop Vexcor. Their investigation is hampered by the rigid caste structure in Jade's home world, the Alpha Verse, where everyone is born into a designated social class. Vexcor's wealthy corporate masters sit at the very top and are seemingly above the law -- especially Boxer (Michael Filipowich), the son of Vexcor's founder, who's not above kidnapping women from the neighboring Beta Verse.
Is it any good?
The series does an admirable job of developing its three similar-but-distinct worlds, though all of them seem very familiar. Jade's home in the Alpha Verse -- a chaotic, dystopian future in which wealth trumps law and everyone can be electronically tracked at any time -- feels a lot like the visions of the future famously created in Blade Runner and Minority Report. The slightly-less-advanced Beta Verse -- well, that's got to be Earth, today. And the lush and beautiful Gamma Verse is clearly an undeveloped paradise, unspoiled by technology and ready to be pillaged by Vexcor.
Charlie Jade deserves credit for starting with a unique premise, but the execution of the parallel-universe concept makes it seem like so many other sci-fi movies and TV shows, complete with a roguish-but-caring hero, a nefarious corporate villain, and a host of assorted supporting characters straight from central casting. It's not all that original, but it's entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about class structure. In the show's world, people are born with a specific ratings classification that's very hard to change. Do you think such a caste system is common in other science fiction or fantasy TV shows or movies? Are they usually defined this explicitly, or do the class divisions exist below the surface? Do you think a similar structure exists in our own world? Why or why not?