A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Family, relationship dysfunction, gangs, and violence are themes. There's humanity amidst the conflict. A mother's love is unwavering. It's possible to break free from cycles of violence. Generational cycles are broken when Skel leaves his violent life behind to start a new one elsewhere.
Positive Role Models
Violent and egotistical characters, gang leaders and characters who are killers. Strong female characters like Alma, who's a resourceful medic and smart, strong, with a mother's determination to find and save her son. She's hopeful and believes in second chances. She fights for what she believes in and cares deeply for others.
Traditionally marginalized groups are represented but many are drawn from cliches and include negative or harmful stereotypes. Latino masculinity equals dominance and violence. Women take on strong roles and, unlike the men in this series, are able to work together to find solutions without the violence. Women are portrayed as the heroes of this story and are smart, strong, confident, and brave; there's a fearless and gutsy teen girl.
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Violence & Scariness
Intense conflict, lots of gun violence, machine guns, and people being tortured and shot to death. Lots of blood and gore. A bazooka is shot into a crowd. Intense and bloody fight scenes where gang members kill each other with bare hands and someone is thrown out a window to their death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Steamy kissing and sexually suggestive scenes, making out or lying in bed together. Nudity including a bare bottom. People are partially dressed or in their underwear.
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Lots of cursing by adults and kids, rude gestures, and lots of strong language. "F--k"and "motherf--er" are used regularly.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol is consumed and partying includes smoking and drugs. A bar scene includes rolling and smoking a joint.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that DMZ is a 4-part dystopian limited series directed by Ava DuVernay and based on the DC comics of the same name. The mini-series takes place in a post-Second American Civil War world and features mature themes, lots of bloody gun violence, sexually suggestive scenes and nudity (including a bare bottom). Gang violence and dysfunctional family dynamics are major themes. There's lots of swearing by adults and also kids -- the words "f--k" and "motherf--ker" are used often. Gang parties include alcohol and drugs. We see two young kids roaming the DMZ unsupervised after losing their caregivers and getting into some pretty dangerous situations -- one is kidnapped, has a gun pointed at him, and is forced to deliver a bomb. The violence and mature themes make DMZ best suited for mature audiences.
Is It Any Good?
There's so much to take away from this intense series in such a short time that it can become too much -- overwhelming for some and inappropriate for younger kids. DMZ tackles mature topics such as government corruption and political greed, societal inequalities, race wars, military interference, lack of healthcare, family dysfunction, toxic masculinity, and breaking generational cycles. The series doesn't give much backstory or explain why the civil war started in the first place, possibly leaving viewers confused. We also don't learn anything about what Alma might have experienced between Evacuation Day and the start of the series. It appears Alma presumed her son had got out of the DMZ and tried to track him elsewhere but we're never told anything about her life during the eight years before she returned. These types of missing details could have given the series more depth. Oddly enough, there's too much crammed into four episodes, yet there aren't enough details to make the story feel memorable; the storyline oftentimes feels muddled and rushed. Still, performances are strong, characters can be intriguing, and some episodes will tug on heartstrings -- a mother's love and determination is unwavering and Alma becomes a symbol of hope for the occupants trapped inside the DMZ.
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.