A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Crime by internet is a theme, with catfishing, cancel culture, and online surveillance all making appearances. Clickbait's heart is in the right place (where individual liberty and public safety meet).
Positive Role Models
Characters are complicated and have secret motivations for their actions. A loving family is at the center of this story, but a man behaving badly sets the action into motion.
Sophie, Nick's wife, is Black, and their children are biracial; it mostly goes unmentioned. Sophie is a strong, central character. Most of the other main characters are White, though there are many characters of color in the background.
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Violence & Scariness
A character is killed suddenly, after much tension, and we see family members worrying about their safety and then grieving. The death occurs off-screen. Intimate partner violence and a covered-up murder plays a part in this drama, and we see a woman struck by a man (though the camera doesn't linger).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content includes flirting, kissing, references to off-screen sex. A secret affair anchors a segment of the plot. A character watches porn on her laptop as she masturbates; we see her face and hear moaning from the laptop. In another scene, the adult video titles a character has watched lately appears briefly on-screen.
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Language includes "s--t," "f--king," "f--k," "bulls--t," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink, take (unnamed) white pills, smoke marijuana (in California, where it is legal). Two characters share a joint in public on a bench and one urges the other to keep smoking even when she's told he's on his way to work. A character says she's "gotta get drunk" after an emotional upset.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Clickbait is a dark drama about a man whose violent kidnapping and a series of subsequent online videos threatening his death reveal a secret life to his family. A death occurs suddenly off-screen and we see tension and grief of the victim's loved ones. Intimate partner violence plays a part in the plot and we see a woman hit by her male partner. Characters drink, and one takes unnamed white pills, particularly after fraught moments. Two characters share a joint in public (in California, where marijuana use is legal). Sexual content includes an extramarital affair, kissing, references to off-screen sex, and several scenes related to adult videos, including one in which we see a character's ecstatic face as she masturbates to images we can't see (we hear moans from her laptop), and one in which we see the titles of a character's recent video consumption, which includes vulgar words for sex and body parts. Cursing includes "s--t" and "f--k." In terms of diverse representations, a central character is Black and several characters are biracial, but this goes mostly unmentioned in service of the plot. Women have strong and central roles. Messages about the dangers of revealing too much online are sometimes ponderous, but also thoughtful and well-intentioned.
Is It Any Good?
Intriguingly and briskly plotted and stocked with a great cast, this mystery/thriller series grabs attention and holds it, even if ultimately it's overstuffed with big messages. Catfishing, cancel culture, journalistic ethics in an age of 24-7 news and gossip, the pluses and minuses of living one's life in an age of on- and off-line surveillance: all of these meaty topics and more make an appearance in Clickbait, which unspool Rashomon-style, with each episode taking on the viewpoint of a different character connected to Nick: his unstable sister, his long-suffering wife, a detective assigned to his case, his teenage son, all of whom, it turns out, have secrets and twisty motivations that are lots of fun to watch unravel.
Ultimately, Clickbait wants to make too many points at once, and characters sometimes take a back seat to the ideas showrunners are clearly trying to get across. Yes, we get it, a journalist investigating a hot story can go too far; yes, trusting what someone tells you about themselves online is pretty foolish. Clickbait takes some weird turns while communicating its moral bulletins, and often feels emotionally manipulative and heavy-handed. But as a narrative, it crackles and moves along nicely.
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.