A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Evil is a series created by Michelle and Robert King (The Good Wife) and revolves around a group of three disparate experts who attempt to confirm or deny reports of supernatural happenings under the auspices of the Catholic church. Plots about hauntings, demons, and miracles may spook young viewers, particularly scenes like one in which a rotted-looking demon visits a main character and cuts off one of her fingers (she wakes up and it was a dream). Scenes with demons and other otherworldly creatures are dark with scary music and noises, which ramps up the tension. Blood and gore are seen in crime photos, and there are flashes of violence like a man cutting another man's throat (the actual cut is obscured). Violence can be sexual in nature: a character kneels over a woman screaming (most of their bodies are hidden by a kitchen counter, but we hear that a man raped a woman). Language is infrequent: "damn," "hell," "bitch." One character has a habit of drinking canned margaritas, but we don't see her drunk. Evil's diverse cast is led by a strong female character -- who has sexual tension with the male lead, so expect romantic complications.
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What's the story?
Supernatural mystery show EVIL stars Katja Herbers as Dr. Kristen Bouchard, a skeptical psychologist who takes a job with the Catholic church investigating unexplained mysteries such as demon possessions, hauntings, and historical miracles. Along with priest in training David Acosta (Mike Colter) and professional ghostbuster Ben (Aasif Mandvi), Kristen soon discovers there may be an ancient coven of demons ("the sixty") intent on wreaking havoc in our world and theirs -- and only those who can see them can oppose them.
Is it any good?
This interesting series is basically a procedural, a classic TV approach that can be stultifying in the wrong hands -- but Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife) definitely aren't the wrong hands. The cast of this relatively small ensemble is absolutely terrific: Katja Herbers, so good in supporting roles in The Leftovers and Westworld, reads perfectly as a smart skeptic willing to revise her opinions as she learns new facts. Her scenes with her four young daughters, with authentically overlapping dialogue, ring sweetly true, and there's a crackle and pop between Kristen and David, who's calm and smooth in this role but no doubt ready to unleash some volcanic Luke Cage-style fury when necessary.
But all bets are really off, cast-wise, when Michael Emerson (you remember him as ultra-creepy Ben Linus from Lost) shows up in the first episode as mysterious villain Leland Townsend, owl-eyed behind big glasses. There's a cabal, and various Bads both big and little, and creepy spirits who show up to menace our leads, and darned if all the supernatural goings-on doesn't liven up the police procedural nicely. Evil casts a spell, and viewers won't mind falling under it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about death and the afterlife, which are prominent themes in Evil. Is the show optimistic or pessimistic? How does it use religious theology to add context to the plot?
Is Evil scary? Is it supposed to be? What specific elements of the show are scary? How does the series use visual and sound cues to amp up tensions? Pay attention to a scary scene; notice how lighting and imagery changes, and what sounds and music you hear.
How does Kristen compare to other TV portrayals of women? How common is it to have a female lead character in a mystery/suspense show? What others can you name?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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