A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Discussion of civic topics: the State of the Union address, how one gets a law passed, military aggression; can teach young viewers about how the American government works.
Government officials are dedicated and hardworking; sensitive viewers may be disturbed by discussions of nuclear war and terrorism.
Positive Role Models
Tom Kirkman is a principled man who tries to do the best with the big job thrust upon him.
Violence & Scariness
Shots of a giant explosion that kills the president and his whole administration as well as rubble and a burning capitol building; an official threatens to rip colleagues' "insides out" if they disobey his orders; an upset man vomits; discussion of nuclear war, military aggression, and terrorism.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, flirting, dating. A married couple snuggles and jokes about sex in bed.
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Mild profanity: "asses," "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Of-age characters drink wine at a bar; a teen character refers to selling "bags" at a club.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Designated Survivor is a political drama about a government official who becomes president after a deadly attack. Scenes are set in the aftermath of an explosion, with buildings in cinders and fire; there are no bodies, blood, or gore. Expect acts of military aggression and discussion of nuclear war. Mild profanity includes "hell" and "asses." A teen character sells bags of an unnamed drug in a club; adults drink wine in a bar. On the mildly educational side, viewers may learn new things about the workings of the American government, including how items get added to a president's agenda, presidential succession, and how bills are passed.
Is It Any Good?
Stuffed -- maybe overstuffed -- with dramatic plot points, this political series has plenty of potential and will appeal to fans of 24 and The West Wing. Other viewers' opinions of this show will depend upon their tolerance/love of scenes in which characters sit in a room having tense conversations about treason and speech-writing. Certainly the show's central premise has zing: After Kirkman learns he's to be thrust into the national spotlight, he's dragged to the White House and into a press conference within an hour. The camera slows down, voices echo. It's a nightmarish place to be, one viewers can easily imagine.
Parents who are political buffs may enjoy watching Designated Survivor with teens, as plot twists about terrorism and plotting officials may spark conversations about the ways in which our government operates; a storyline revolving around an FBI agent (Maggie Q) investigating the attack may inspire not-as-comfortable conversations about terrorism. And a subplot on the Kirkhams' teen son, Leo (Tanner Buchanan), who sells something in little bags at D.C. clubs, may make both parents and teens a wee bit uncomfortable.
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.