TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
FlashForward TV Poster Image
Complex drama blends action, mystery, questions about fate.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The characters on this series all get a glimpse of their own future, and not everyone likes what they see. The premise might prompt viewers to be more willing to accept their lives now, rather than daydream about what might be -- or what might not come to pass. That said, there's plenty of conflict and iffy behavior here, so the overall take-away isn't focused on obviously positive messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mark and Olivia, the couple at the center of the series, seem devoted to each other, but their relationship also has a few cracks, notably due to Mark’s alcoholism. Their actions and choices reflect the conflicts between addiction, desire, love, and compassion.


Some intense sequences show suicides, car accidents, planes crashing, and other disasters. Other scenes depict police-style assaults/confrontations involving high-powered automatic weapons and other firearms. Characters are shot; some injuries are shown, in moderate detail.


Partially undressed couples (both teens and adults) are shown fooling around and/or in bed after sex. No on-screen nudity, though women are shown wearing bras or nightgowns. One flash forward includes extramarital affair. Flirting and kissing between both heterosexual and same-sex couples. Joking references to topics like "three ways." Use of words like "slut" and "masturbating."


Moderate swearing, including "damn," "ass," "hell," “crap,” "douche," and “frigging."


Some popular musicians are mentioned by name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults are shown drinking wine. One of the main characters is a recovering alcoholic who is sometimes shown drinking heavily, alone. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, where he discusses addiction. References to drug use/sales.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in this thought-provoking sci-fi drama, everybody on on the planet is inexplicably given a brief glimpse of their future ... and they're not all thrilled with what they see. Since the universal "blackout" causes many disasters, expect to see plenty of intense/violent scenes, ranging from car crashes to gunfights -- though there are few explicitly gory images. Violence also plays a role in the aftermath of the incident, as investigators look for an explanation and stumble across danger. There's also some social drinking, and one character is struggling with alcoholism. Couples are shown fooling around, and though there's no outright nudity, some of the scenes are rather suggestive.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysk8lady June 24, 2011

Grown-ups only!

I've been watching this on Roku AFTER my 15 year old goes to bed. My husband typically passes through the room mumbling about "your creepy show."... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written bycrazyboymom November 3, 2009

Loved it, Until....

This show is crossing the line. Last week's episode included a sex scene I would expect to see on HBO, not ABC at 8pm. It's disappointing that peopl... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bybiovox14 May 25, 2017

Fantastic series

A fantastic sci-fiesque series, with fairly light content. Very little language, some violence, and some implied after sex scenes, as well as a suicide, and som... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byI izz awsom August 4, 2011

They shouldn't have cancelled it >:(

I honestly loved this show, it had a good plot and cool characters. Plus it wasn't too confusing. So yes, i'm mad because they cancelled it. It was ki... Continue reading

What's the story?

FBI agent Mark Bedford (Joseph Fiennes) wakes up in the wreckage of a car and slowly realizes that he’s in the middle of a terrible, multi-vehicle crash on the Los Angeles freeway. What happened to him? What happened to everyone else? And what were those strange visions where he saw himself studying mysterious clues to a case? As Bedford soon realizes, he blacked out for exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds for no obvious reason -- and so did every other person on the planet, during which time, everyone had a brief glimpse of their future. In this intriguing, time-bending series, Bedford must analyze the clues hidden in the revelations of these FLASHFORWARDS as he and others try to piece together every individual snippet of the future to create a big picture of what will happen and why.

Is it any good?

In typical time-travel stories, someone visits the past or future and then returns to the present; in FlashForward, everyone stays in the present but gets a quick look at the future. The thought-provoking, two-pronged puzzle here is why this has happened, and whether these impending events are set in stone. Because not everyone likes what they see. Bedford, a recovering alcoholic, sees himself on a disturbing bender, while his wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) sees their marriage crumbling. And Bedford’s partner, Demetri (John Cho), sees nothing at all -- could that mean he'll soon be dead?

The show plays a bit like the popular yet exceedingly more complex Lost, a series that plays fast and loose with the time-space continuum by stitching together events from individual characters’ past and future. FlashForward stays mostly focused on the present but frequently cuts to the future as different characters recall memories from their own "sneak previews." The result is an entertaining mystery that also asks complex questions about fate and destiny.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about uncertainty and disaster, which are prominent themes in the series. Does any of what happens on the show seem like it could actually take place? Is that unsettling?

  • How does the show's premise of revealing the future to people in the present impact the inherent drama of time travel stories? Are they worried that they might change the timeline, or are they actively trying to do so?

  • What would you do if you saw your own future? Do you think your fate is already settled, or does your future change every day as a result of your choices and actions?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

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