Free Rein

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Free Rein TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Likable British drama boasts exceptional female role model.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 26 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 49 reviews

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We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Secrets swirl around many characters, including Zoe's mom, having to do with her past. Some people's motivations are difficult to pin down, raising questions about whether they're friend or foe to Zoe and her family. That said, the story presents a biracial family unit that's dealing with difficulty in a constructive way and strengthening their relationships through open communication.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zoe is a fantastic role model for girls in particular. Faced with family adversity, she embraces change and is determined to help her mother and sister cope with their challenges. She's confident, self-assured, and resistant to peers' attempts to influence her in negative ways. Other characters are less admirable, acting egotistical and demeaning others.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Teens flirt with each other and are transparent about their attraction to peers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Free Rein is a family-friendly British drama series that centers on a confident, principled teen who's a fantastic female role model. The story alludes to some family strife that inspired Zoe, her mother, and her sister to relocate to England for the summer, but it avoids detail and offers Zoe an opportunity to shine as her family's rock. She's also great around her peers, dismissing pretentiousness and embracing real friendship. For those drawn to the series because of its equine angle, there are plenty of scenes of horses and riding -- in particular, those featuring the majestic Raven. If you're looking for a new series you can share with the family, this heartwarming drama may be just the thing.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byGen1331 March 24, 2019

Too romantic for younger kids

My seven year old daughter liked this show but always turned it off when I walked into the room. We of course talked about it and she said it might not be appro... Continue reading
Adult Written byBob P. April 23, 2018

Questionable Morals and Too Much Teen Drama

The main character actively trys to claim a horse that is not hers. Ironically, she is trying to stop horse thieves despite her trying to emotionally steal the... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byPicklePower July 12, 2019

Oh boy...

So...ugh. Let me start off by stating that as an equestrian, I was feeling excited. I stumbled upon Free Rein while browsing listlessly on Netflix. After watchi... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBridget_05 December 6, 2018

Great show for equestrians and horse lovers!

This show is the absolute ball! As an equestrian I find this show very relatable and very enjoyable. This show is suitable for all age groups but some scary sce... Continue reading

What's the story?

In FREE REIN, a summer in the English countryside is just what 15-year-old Zoe (Jaylen Barron) needs after the strain of family and friend drama over the past year. Along with her mom, Maggie (Natalie Gumede), and her little sister, Rosie (Navia Robinson), Zoe leaves Los Angeles for the tiny island off the coast of England where her grandfather lives, excited for some quiet time and mental recuperation. To her surprise, though, there's plenty of drama awaiting her there, starting with her inexplicable connection to the local stable's rebellious stallion, Raven, and continuing with the ensemble of residents and employees frequenting the area. As Zoe makes new acquaintances, she discovers among them friends, enemies, and swirling secrets that hide true intentions.

Is it any good?

This thoughtful British coming-of-age drama gives viewers lots of reasons to love it, starting with an exceptional teen lead in Zoe. Caught in the midst of family and personal trials, she's the glue that holds her family together. A role model to her younger sister (even though Rosie rarely recognizes it) and often confidante to her mom, Zoe maintains a level head, values honesty over reputation, and chooses her friends with care. She's not swayed by wealth or influence, and (gasp!) she actively engages in quality time with her family.

Free Rein is quality entertainment for the whole family. Besides Zoe, there are a number of appealing characters in the story, including her sage grandfather and her new friends. Some are more mysterious, harboring secrets that get revealed over time and maintain an enticing level of suspense. The show does touch on some mature themes such as marital discord, but it does so gently and in ways that invite discussion afterward.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • In what ways does Zoe model admirable behavior as a teen in Free Rein? Is she a believable character? What qualities are important to you in a role model for girls in particular?

  • How does your family keep open the lines of communication? Why is it important to share your feelings with those close to you? Why is communication an important character strength? In what ways does technology help us communicate with others?

  • How is racial diversity presented on TV shows and in movies? How does what we see on the screen influence our impression of the world?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horses

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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