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 Deadtime Stories is an anthological horror series for tweens whose content is difficult to predict because each episode presents a different story. Topics range from monstrous killer insects to beasts in half-human form stalking kids, and there's always a strong element of fear. Because the line between fantasy and reality is intentionally blurred (more so in some stories than in others), it can cause some angst in those kids who can't differentiate between the two. For older ones, though, the show is a fun spine-tingler that steers clear of any worrisome violence or language.
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What's the story?
Ghost stories and other creepy tales come to life in DEADTIME STORIES, a reimagining of a 1986 horror movie of the same name. The series stars Jennifer Stone as a baby-sitter who reads scary stories to her young charges before bedtime each night. As she reads, the show cuts away to a dramatization of each standalone tale; they center on spooky or mysterious happenings like the reincarnation of dead pets, vengeful ghosts, or a haunted mirror with strange powers.
Is it any good?
In the vein of Goosebumps, Deadtime Stories can be a good trial run on middle-of-the-road scares for tweens who have outgrown animated spooks but aren't ready for the heavier stuff. Violence is pretty much nonexistent, and the special effects are just immature enough that tweens will see through them, plus Stone's presence always keeps the tone lighthearted and humorous.
As with any anthological series with a consistently changing focus, it's important to check out the content of each episode before giving your kids the go-ahead. For some, the idea of giant animatronic bugs might be a thrill; for others, it's bound to induce some nightmares. Knowing your kid's particular sensitivities is a must if this kind of show is on her radar.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why being scared is sometimes fun. Do you like the feeling? What kinds of stories and characters are scariest for you?
How are role models portrayed in this show? Are the adults attentive to the kids' concerns? To whom can your kids turn if an issue arises for them at school? In extracurricular activities? Remind them about "safe" adults in public places as well.
Use the show's tie-in to shared story time to inspire the same activity within your family. What kinds of books appeal to all the ages in your home? If your kids are of reading age, share the duties with them, and talk about how you envision the story as you hear it. How do your versions compare?
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