Epic Ink

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Epic Ink TV Poster Image
Tattoo reality is fairly mild, except for bleeped language.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This pro-tattoo-themed series highlights some of the unique tattoo art produced by the artists of Area 51. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The tattoo artists are passionate about their craft.


No blood, but clients sometimes flinch or writhe in pain during inking sessions. Some of the tattoos feature pop culture serial killers, weapons, and other violent images. Toy guns are visible; one episode features the staff dueling with them. 


Some tattoos are on the sexier side, including images of pinup girls and partially dressed characters. People take off their pants and other articles of clothing to get inked, but no nudity is shown. 


Words such as "hell," "ass," "crap," and "damn" audible; curses such as "f--k" bleeped. 


The series is a promotional vehicle for the Area 51 tattoo studio. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Epic Ink features tattoo artists creating and inking clients at Oregon's renowned Area 51 tattoo shop. The series showcases some unique body art and includes some edgy content, including some strong language and some violent and sexy images. A few clients writhe in pain while getting their tattoos, and at least one scene features toy (plastic) guns. All this being said, the cast is likable, and the overall series is pretty tame. 

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What's the story?

EPIC INK is a reality series featuring the tattoo artists of Area 51, a renowned tattoo parlor located in Springfield, Oregon. Owned and operated by celebrity tattoo artist Chris 51, the series highlights the pop culture-inspired, hyperrealistic artwork they're known for. Clients come from across the country to get inked by Chris 51 and his team, including artists such as Chris Jones, Heather Maranda, and Josh Bodwell. From inking dinosaurs from Jurassic Park to tattooing detailed images of video game scenes drawn by hand, the team shows why their tattoos stand out.

Is it any good?

It's likely that folks interested in inking and body art will be inspired by the series, whereas others may find the enthusiasm for tattoos inspired by superheroes such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and characters from movies such as The Goonies a little ... different. Some of the more unique images, such as a pair of horns inked into the sides of a client's head, also may raise a few eyebrows. 

Nonetheless, it's a lighthearted and voyeuristic look at the antics of the likable Area 51 tattoo artists, who appear to have as much fun designing images and inking clients as they do working with each other. Some of the artwork, which is often so detailed it appears three-dimensional, is impressive, too. It won't appeal to everyone, but viewers will probably find it entertaining. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of tattoo-themed reality shows. What makes them appealing to audiences? Is it the artwork? The actual ritual of getting a tattoo? Or something else? 

  • Why do people get tattoos? Is it the responsibility of TV shows to discuss the pros and cons of getting one? 

TV details

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