Parents' Guide to

City on Fire

By Marty Brown, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Post-9/11 NYC murder drama has drugs, language.

TV Apple TV+ Drama 2023
City on Fire TV show: a woman stands on a subway platform in front of posters of the characters on the show

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One way to soup up a relatively routine mystery plot is to add an interesting setting. City on Fire was adapted from a novel that takes place in the 1970s but updates the setting to Manhattan 2003, a.k.a. post-9/11 New York. The series is incredibly accurate to that era, with special attention to the local music scene that produced bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol. (The band in City on Fire seems specifically inspired by The Rapture and the scene's gravitation toward dance-punk.) Despite the rich setting, the series doesn't seem to have much to actually say about how its characters navigate the trauma of the Twin Towers falling, aside from arbitrarily assigning one a dead father. So the setting ends up feeling like mere window dressing for an otherwise routine murder mystery, albeit one with some cool music direction.

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