TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Helix TV Poster Image
Medical horror is too scary for tweens, sensitive teens.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

CDC officials take their important jobs seriously and treat human lives with respect. But the overall tone is dark and foreboding.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters are complicated and their motives unclear and twisty -- as well as just plain evil. Dr. Farragut is perhaps the most heroic character, but even he makes mistakes and has limitations. The cast boasts racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.


Horror-style violence with a lot of creepy imagery: cut-off limbs; black, bulging veins; pools of inky blood. Characters we've grown to know and like die suddenly.


The characters have a complicated adulterous backstory, and there are references to sex.


Characters are under stress and may speak roughly to each other; there's a very small amount of cursing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Helix is a tense horror/sci-fi series that's both too scary and too complex for kids. Expect a lot of nightmarish visuals: dead bodies lying in pools of black blood, blood spurting from eyeballs and heads, hacked-off limbs. Characters we've grown to know and like are under constant menace and are sometimes quickly attacked and killed or infected. There are needles, bulging veins, animals kept in cages and experimented upon, and a lot of medical imagery, such as gory autopsies. The overall atmosphere is dark and mysterious, and characters have complicated motivations and backstories. There are references to sex and adultery. Older or sophisticated teens may enjoy the twisty horror with parents, but this is too much for tweens and grade-schoolers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by710studio January 15, 2014

Great Sci-Fi, Not For the Kiddies

"Helix" is a sci-fi thriller that has all the makings of a great show - well rounded characters, engaging story lines, and that creep-factor that I ha... Continue reading
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byIvorys February 1, 2019

2nd season not for kids

First season is scary, but not much sex. Second season is very many sex scenes, example: a girl jerks off a man for several minutes, while they are talking, you... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byFluffydog101 January 15, 2018

I loved it but..

This was a great show, although pretty scary. I would totally recommend this for older teens, but I would probably not watch it in front of my younger friends.
Teen, 15 years old Written byLucan1010 October 25, 2015

Good (but gory) drama/scifi/medical/horror series should have been rated TV-14, not TV-PG

Season 2 is rated TV-14, I have not seen ityet so this review does not reflect it. Howev... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the intense sci-fi series HELIX, something's wrong at the mysterious Arctic Biosystems lab: A virus has gone rogue, moving swiftly from animal to human and then causing people to attack each other. Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell), a heroic researcher with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flies in with a troop of scientists with the goal of checking the spread. But it may already be too late: Alan's estranged brother, Peter (Neil Napier), is Patient Zero, infected and seeking victims among his Arctic Biosystems lab colleagues, all of whom are under the guidance of the enigmatic Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada), who's not exactly hoping to stamp the virus out. Or is he? Matters are complicated by Farragut's team's twisty backstories: Along for the ride is Farragut's ex-wife, Julia (Kyra Zagorsky), whose affair with Peter was the reason for the brothers' falling-out, and Farragut's sultry, yearning assistant, Dr. Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes). The virus is spreading, and it's anyone's guess who will survive.

Is it any good?

Helix has the scary-medical thing down pat: There's a lot of gleaming stainless-steel surfaces, giant needles, and sickly green lighting, not to mention bulging black veins, off-kilter madmen in lab coats, and ominous animal cages with something shadowy lurking in them. Which is to say, genre fans will catch a breath of many a similarly themed "infection" movie in Helix's goings-on. Say, the monster-guy is crawling through air ducts, just like in Aliens! Say, didn't it remind you of 28 Days Later when that monkey attacked the doctor's face?

That's not to say that Helix isn't good or scary. It just carries with it the DNA of other horror outings. But it also has similarities to another late, great, and much-beloved sci-fi/horror show, Lost, which scored by putting relatable, likable characters into weird circumstances. Since Helix is executive-produced by a former Lost writer, the similarities are not exactly unexpected, but this may be enough to make tuning in worth it for fans.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the real Centers for Disease Control and the work it does. How does the CDC keep people safe? Which epidemics, such as bird flu, has it identified in the past, and how has it helped quell epidemics?

  • Compare the atmosphere of Helix to other shows worked on by the same creative team, such as Battlestar Galactica and Lost. How are these shows alike? How are they different?

  • Horror/sci-fi movies and shows about some type of zombie-like infection are common: Witness movies such as 28 Days Later and World War Z or TV shows such as The Walking Dead. Is Helix a show about zombies? Why, or why not?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

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