Greatest Hits

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Greatest Hits TV Poster Image
Zesty hits-of-the-past show is fun whole-family fare.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The mood is upbeat, and a diverse selection of musicians is featured, which makes this show appealing for groups of viewers of different ages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Musicians featured are generally known for their music, not for having colorful private lives, though the music of some controversial figures such as Michael Jackson is featured. 

Violence
Sex

Lyrics frequently contain double entendres. 

Language
Consumerism

Many mentions of musicians, their hit songs, and shows and movies the songs were featured in. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A brief reference is made to Michael Jackson and his death by overdose. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Greatest Hits is a TV show in which chart-toppers from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s are spotlighted. It's very-family friendly; occasionally double entendres appear in lyrics relating to sex. Musicians featured are generally the same, although controversial figures may be spotlighted -- Michael Jackson's death by overdose is mentioned briefly, though the spotlight is on his music, not his foibles. This show is good for all-age watching, if your kids won't roll their eyes at "old people's music." 

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What's the story?

The music of the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s lives again on GREATEST HITS, a six-episodes series of hour-long specials focusing on chart-topping music from past eras. Each episode focuses on a different five-year period -- say, 1980–1985. Musicians who had hits during that period, such as REO Speedwagon and Rick Springfield, appear to sing their original hits while hosts Arsenio Hall and Kelsea Ballerini keep things moving along. Sometimes the rock, hip-hop, Latin, and country stars perform with their original bands, sometimes with session musicians, and sometimes the show goes for crossover appeal by having an artist from a different era or genre cover the original hit, as when Jason Derulo covers Michael Jackson's "Human Nature." Short segments dig into the past of popular videos.

Is it any good?

With great energy and interesting pairings, this parade of musical stars and songs from the past scores -- which is not a surprise, since showrunner Ken Ehrlich has made this kind of crossover an art form on the Emmys. Siccing Pitbull on REO Speedwagon's "Take It on the Run" is appealing to the middle-aged-and-older and 20-something viewers -- pretty smart. Performers like Kim Carne, Ray Parker, Jr., and Kenny Loggins look and sound great as they reminisce about their past hits before performing them. Heaven knows Kenny Loggins must be sick of performing "Footloose," but even he can't resist the enthusiastically dancing crowd watching his live performance. The show is a lot of fun, particularly for a summer fill-in, just the sort of thing you can flip on after dinner for a multi-age crowd to watch and talk about. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why this show features hits from the past rather than current hits. Why do past hits have wider appeal? What types of people listen to current Top 40 hits? What kinds of people might know Top 40 hits from 20 to 30 years ago? 

  • How would this show change if another art form were featured? Like, say, dance crazes from the past? Noted paintings? Scenes from plays or films? 

TV details

For kids who love music

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