Heroes TV Poster Image




Hero-driven drama is "super" for teens and up.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Overall the show's messages are similar to those of most superhero stories -- it's right for good to triumph over evil, characters who see the light deserve a second chance, etc. But plotlines can get very convoluted, with characters changing sides/alliances frequently, and it's sometimes hard to keep that in mind.

Positive role models

While most of the heroes have flaws (some quite significant), their collective goal is noble: to save the world and the people in it. That said, many characters switch allegiances, and it's sometimes hard to keep track of who's "good" or "bad" at any given moment. On the plus side, the cast members are a generally diverse group.


Significant amounts of blood and guts, and several graphic murder scenes. Some of the visuals are shockingly gory and may turn even the strongest of stomachs. Characters are constantly in peril and/or risking themselves to help others. Frequent images of potential Armageddon -- explosions, destruction, etc. The characters' goal is to prevent that from happening, but the images are frequent and scary.


One of the original "heroes" is a Las Vegas stripper who runs a Web pornography business out of her home and is shown stripping for a webcam (no real nudity) and seducing another character in her underwear. Other characters are shown in bed together (no sex on screen), with implied nudity. In at least one episode, two young women share a kiss.


Occasional use of words/terms like "crack whore," "bitch," "hell," "hump," and "screw."


Some product placement (cars, etc.)

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One hero has a heroin addiction; other characters (including some underage) are shown drinking socially on occasion.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, while teens are definitely going to want to watch this comic book-like fantasy drama, it's at the far end of iffy due to its significant graphic violence. A central character who's incapable of getting injured frequently suffers debilitating injuries (burning, falls, mutilation), only to walk away unscathed; there are some disturbingly gory murders (heads cut open, bodies impaled by knives and other sharp objects); and explosive images of potential Armageddon are frequent. The show also has some relatively mild sexual content and language to watch out for, but the violence is the big issue here.

What's the story?

In HEROES, life suddenly changes for a far-flung group of seemingly ordinary people when they begin developing superpowers. New York nurse Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) has been having strange dreams about flying, a quirk that his politically ambitious brother, Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), wants nothing to do with. Las Vegas Web-cam girl Niki Sanders (Ali Larter) has begun to see her dangerous alter ego's reflection in mirrors, while Japanese office worker Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) has literally started turning back the clock. Cop Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) realizes that he can hear what other people are thinking, and jailbird D.L. Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) finds out that he can walk through walls. Texas cheerleader Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) has discovered that she's incapable of getting hurt, and artist Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera) is painting horrifying images that seem to show future events. Meanwhile, Indian genetics professor Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is picking up the pieces of his deceased father's research surrounding a global event that could change the course of all mankind.

Is it any good?


By merging the stories of these drastically different characters from all over the world into one gripping plotline, Heroes creates addictive television drama on a near-epic scale. One of the reasons it's so good is that the show's creators clearly understand the power of the cliffhanger, a device that's bound to propel it into "must see" territory for die-hard TV (and sci-fi/fantasy) junkies.

But as a programming choice for young kids, Heroes falls short of "super," due mostly to the flat-out graphic violence. Much of it is connected to Claire -- she comes away unscathed from some nasty injuries, including a hand down the disposal and a neck-breaking blow from a football player -- but plenty of other scenes depict bloody murders, sawed-open heads, Armageddon-like explosions, and more. Some of it is so gory that most adults will have to turn their heads And kids? Well, they'll likely have nightmares.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the nature of the word "hero" and what it means in everyday life. Do people need to have super-human powers to be heroic? And is being drastically different from everyone else a curse or a blessing?

  • Since the ensemble cast includes a diverse mix of sexes, ethnicities, and personality types, families can also discuss cultural bias and sexism. Are male superheroes more powerful than females -- and why do we often assume that they are? Are Americans more heroic than people from other nations -- and why is it such a rarity to see a "foreign" superhero?

TV details

Cast:Hayden Panettiere, Masi Oka, Milo Ventimiglia, Zachary Quinto
Genre:Science Fiction
Character strengths:Self-control, Teamwork
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byRelleeStar May 17, 2011

Very gory

The plot is great and tge thrill and action is something you should really look forward too. However, the messages are kind of muddled and I have a hard time finding the truth in each story. Now the gore (Gosh, where do I start?), there is SO MUCH. Shooting, accidents, fires, stabbings, and one of the villains cuts off the tops of people's heads and eats their brains. XP. But it's a great show! Watcher beware, however, if you're not the kind who can handle that kind of gore. But it's Addicting to watch!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byyami0204 April 9, 2008

Pure awesome, but definitely not for kids.

Heroes isn't exactly original, playing off many X-men-like scenarios and even including several powers similar to different mutants (Claire's regeneration abilities = Wolvie's regeneration abilities), but what makes it shine better than a comic book reads are the people's stories. Each character's unique perspective on their abilities and how they must change to harness these abilities to save the world from evil (be it Sylar or an exploding man). However, despite it being very good, it's not for little kids. I, as an adult, can barely handle some of the gore, so I would highly recommend parents to watch an episode or two before letting kids young than 13 or 14 attempt to watch it. Otherwise, it's really a very good drama and can't wait to see more of it! =D
Teen, 17 years old Written byDie Afrikaaner February 16, 2010

Good show to relate too.

Everyone is saying these Heroes are role models and that they have flaws. No one is perfect. I found a hero that is my role model because we share the same ideas AND THE SAME FLAWS. People need to realize that role models are not always going to be perfect.
What other families should know
Great role models
Great role models


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