Parents' Guide to


By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Sports drama has heart, great characters, nudity, language.

TV Starz Drama 2021
Heels Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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The wrestling may be as choreographed as any dance, but the heart is genuine in this sports-in-a-small-town saga that calls to mind enduring faves like Friday Night Lights. Heels has many of the same touchstones: gorgeous leads with competing dreams of escaping to the big leagues and making something out of themselves back at home, a struggling sports league, swelling indie music over the emotional beats. It also cannily understands that not all of this show's fans are going to be wrestling fans, so it weaves arcane details about the sport through its storyline. Kayfabe, for example, the title of the first episode, is a convention in which performers pretend like the rivalries in the ring are true to life; Jack is a "heel" (a villainous wrestling character), while Ace is a "face" (a good guy).

But the brothers at the heart of Heels are more emotionally messy than Friday Night Lights' virtuous Coach Taylor, with a contentious relationship that causes each to make terrible mistakes. Ace is the more obviously wayward son, hoovering up drugs, alcohol, and the attention of women and the crowd alike in a way that usually bespeaks of some unfillable internal emotional cavern. But though Jack seems initially like a more stable family guy, the show's storyline shifts to reveal hidden rivalries and backstories that cause viewers' alliances to shift too. And as the episodes spool out, the focus widens to show unexpected depths in other characters, like frustrated and ambitious ring girl (called a "valet" in the show's parlance) Crystal (Kelli Berglund), and sardonic Duffy Wrestling League manager Willie (Mary McCormack). It all adds up to a series with plenty of juice even after the final bell has rung, and one viewers won't mind making time for.

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