Elite

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Elite TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Sex, drugs, and murder in racy, compelling Spanish import.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Positive messages are not frequent, but there are points being made here about class, wealth, and power, as well as about religious and ethic identity, and sexuality. Parents won't always appreciate the way they are made, though. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters are stereotypical rich-kid types; the lower-class characters are typically portrayed more sympathetically. Nadia Shanaa is a strong representation of a Muslim woman who thoughtfully considers whether to wear or hijab or not (and is threatened with expulsion for doing so at school), and works hard at school to succeed despite being the target of racism, contempt, and shady plots. All of her problems are are not connected to being Muslim -- she's also a realistic teen girl with a teen girl's typical problems. 

Violence

A murder anchors much of the plot, and we see a teen girl as a dead body, with the camera lingering on her face and pouty lips. Teen boys scuffle and punch each other at a party; sexual situations are iffy (a girl seduces a boy so her boyfriend can secretly watch; two teens conspire to entice a "virginal Muslim girl" into having sex). 

Sex

Sexual content is more intense than you'd see in an American show about teens: dating, flirting, talking about sex, kissing, two characters having sex in a shower with thrusting (the male partner is visible nude from the rear). Another character is nude in a non-sexual context as he walks down a hallway after his clothing is stolen from a locker; his backside is visible but genitals are covered. A teen uses an app to take pictures of his body for a gay hookup; a girl has sex with a boy so her boyfriend can secretly watch; a young woman is HIV-positive. A girl asks her boyfriend to have sex with a girl to ruin her reputation. 

Language

Language is in Spanish, subtitled, and cursing includes "s--t," "f--king," "f--k," "hell," "ass," "a--hole," "dick." Teens flip each other the bird. Language may also have a gendered aspect that bilingual or sharp listeners will pick up on, like when one character jokingly calls another "hijo de puta" literally "son of a prostitute" but translated as "son of a bitch." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many characters habitually smoke cigarettes. Teens buy hashish from a dealer, learn to roll it into a cigarette by watching an online video, and then smoke it. At a party thrown by a girl's parents, teens guzzle champagne and beer and get sloppy; one vomits on another character and then makes a chancy sexual decision. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Elite is a Spanish-language drama about a murder that occurs after three scholarship students begin attending a upscale school. Iffy content is, in general, more intense than you'd find on an American teen-soap counterpart: characters have sex (with nude backsides exposed) in a variety of unusual and risky ways, including a girl who has sex with a boy so her boyfriend can secretly watch, a couple who enjoys having sex in public places, and a teen who uses a gay hookup app. Another character tries to have sex with a girl so that he and his girlfriend can ruin her reputation. Teens also buy and smoke hashish, smoke cigarettes, and drink to the point of vomiting, even with parents at the party. Language includes "f--k," "f--king," and "s--t," as well as bigoted language such as referring to a Muslim woman's hijab as a "turban" and calling her "Palestine." A murder takes place in the show's running time; we see the girl's dead, bloody body. A young Muslim woman is a strong character, and the show, while very edgy, has interesting things to say about race, class, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEmma_W May 26, 2020

Great show!

Overall the show has a good plot and great characters ! There is some amazing character development in the show and it really proves to make good role models! T... Continue reading
Adult Written byCoolmom303 May 11, 2020

Suitable for teens 14 and up

Elite is a show that shows a lot of drug use but as a mom I know my children would never do that. The sexual activity doesn’t show any body parts and every kid... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byaka_bombshell19 March 29, 2019
Teen, 15 years old Written byIAmNeverSatisfied October 26, 2018

For mature minded audiences

I think this is suitable for 14/15 years olds, it just really depends on the maturity of you. It does show some nudity (which I don’t think is a problem, if you... Continue reading

What's the story?

Las Encinas is where the ELITE of Spain send their kids. But this year, Nadia (Mina El Hammani), Samuel (Itzan Escamilla), and Christian (Miguel Herrán) have been invited to the party, recipients of a special scholarship funded by the builders who put up the inner-city school that collapsed right on top of its students. It's tough to be the new kid at a school where the students are rich, connected, and mean -- particularly when someone winds up murdered. 

Is it any good?

Racy and irresistible, this Spanish import dazzles and intrigues -- but think twice before showing it to teens, though it's supposed to be about high schoolers. The students at Las Encinas indulge freely in illicit sex, drugs and alcohol, Cruel Intentions-style sexual mind games, and, of course, murder. But it's not all seamy appeal. The setup also drags in a layer of rich vs. poor class struggle which, interestingly, has different angles than the same conflict in America. In the show's first episode, a rich boy explains to a scholarship student that his 16-year-old sister's elaborate coming-out party would have once been about finding a husband quickly. But now it's more about "networking, although the husband thing is not ruled out." 

Largely through the character of Nadia, Elite also has compelling things to say about race and ethnicity. Consistently greeted with contempt for her "turban" and "attitude," Nadia's set up for a downfall by a classmate clearly threatened by her smarts and bravery, and given a complicated home and inner life that makes her actions hard to predict. Sexuality is treated in a similarly layered way, with a gay student looking for hookups online, an HIV-positive teen, and a couple who gets kicks from voyeurism all in the mix. It adds up to a show that's glossy, sometimes shocking, compulsively watchable, and only for the most mature teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether it's OK to show teen sexdrinking, and drug use on television. Do shows like this present a realistic view of teen life, or is anything exaggerated for entertainment? What would the real-life consequences of the characters' behavior be?

  • Aside from the language, what sets this Spanish series apart from their American counterparts? Why do you think some content (swearing, nudity, smoking) is more accepted in other countries?

  • This series touches on timely issues, including bullying, tolerance, sexual identity, sexual activity, and bigotry. Depending on the episode's content, talk to your kids about these and other topics, drawing comparisons between the characters' actions and your own family rules. Did the show encourage you to see a situation differently than you have in the past? How does peer pressure play a role in your decisions about what you will and will not do?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love teen drama

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