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 Creeped Out is a BBC anthology series that merges horror, fantasy, and science fiction themes. While some of the episodes are creepier than others, the show, in general, isn't aggressively frightening or gory in any way. In truth, the show has more in common with a series like Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone (albeit, a training wheels version) than a straight-up horror anthology, especially in the way each episode imparts some kind of social critique or moral lesson for the viewer to ponder. If your child enjoys being spooked, they'll probably be fine watching this, but parents of super-sensitive little ones may want to preview the episodes first.
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What's the story?
CREEPED OUT is an anthology series that combines various elements of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Each episode focuses on a different tween or teen protagonist fumbling their way though freaky situations like sentient cellphones, cursed puppets, and imaginary friends who may not be so imaginary. The tales are bookended by the mysterious appearance of "The Curious," an anonymous masked figure whose ghostly whistle is said to signal the start of some sort of paranormal kookiness. The stories tend to have moral messages to impart, which are highlighted by the narration that kicks off and ends each episode.
Is it any good?
The only downside to this just-spooky-enough series is that the anthology format is unpredictable, which may bug sensitive viewers. A kid might be a-okay with a story about a mean babysitter, only to flip out at a different episode about zombie-like campers. Previewing the episode descriptions or watching alongside your kiddos may be a good idea if you suspect this may be an issue for them. Still, Creeped Out is a solid choice for school-age fans of the supernatural, and makes a great introduction to horror and science fiction for kids too young for the really spooky stuff.
One of the best aspects of the series is the way it combines the dread-filled mood of a campfire tale with thought-provoking messages, and it's all done in a way kids can easily relate to. The first episode centers on an insecure girl named Kim who longs to be popular and is obsessed with being online. When she buys a supposedly "unbreakable" smartphone from an infomercial, it learns everything about her, and soon takes over her social media accounts, causing a huge spike in her popularity among classmates. Too bad the phone is also a controlling, sentient creep -- shades of the HAL 9000 computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey -- who wants to be Kim's "boyfriend" and threatens to ruin her life if she doesn't do everything he says. Themes like this inspire kids to look at the world around them in a critical way, which sets the show a notch above similar offerings which are more about jump scares and gross-outs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it is that draws people to watching scary movies and TV shows or reading scary books. Is it fun to let yourself be frightened sometimes? Why do you think that is?
Each episode of Creeped Out is different, but a common thread that runs through them is the idea that actions have consequences. Talk about specific episodes and the way the show examines these consequences. Do the punishments some characters face seem warranted? Why or why not? What is the show trying to say about these issues?
For kids who love scary stuff
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