Hunters

TV review by
Edie Nugent, Common Sense Media
Hunters TV Poster Image
Things get bloody but boring in the war on alien terror.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

On the surface Hunters seems to grounded in a positive message -- namely, banding together a team of highly trained agents to fight an alien terrorist network. However, the level of casual brutality the show exhibits drowns out the message of teamwork with blood and gore. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Agent Carroll is an FBI agent and former soldier. He exhibits a clear sense of duty: adopting the teenage daughter of his deceased partner, for instance. He loses points for hiding the extent to which he suffers from PTSD -- lying and even taking his adopted daughter's prescription medication to mask the effects. His wife, Abby, appears to be morally on point yet is revealed to be an alien lying about her identity -- as is Regan, hiding her alien makeup while fighting the good fight on behalf of ETU. 

Violence

While most of the violence is reserved for the aliens, they look exactly like humans, so this does little to mitigate the overall effect. A naked, bloodied woman is bound inside a cage, shivering and terrified. A man physically threatens that same woman and immobilizes her with an alien weapon before kidnapping her. Scene of point-blank range shootings where heads explode and faces and throats torn out; incredibly graphic autopsy scenes.

Sex

A married couple shares passionate kisses in bed together, with the wife in her underwear. Later they also embrace naked from the waist up while kissing (her chest is blocked from view). A one-night stand between a character and a colleague ends with some steamy kissing -- literally and figuratively, as they're standing up in a shower together. Nudity is implied, but the camera stays in a tight shot from the shoulders up and focuses on the woman's moaning face.

Language

One incidence of the phrase "blow your damn head off."

Consumerism

Hunters is based on the work of a best-selling author whose other writings have been tuned into several Hollywood motion pictures.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hunters is a sci-fi/action series where a secret government organization pursues a growing threat of alien terrorism. It's violent and graphic, including blood-soaked fighting scenes rife with shoot-outs, stabbings, and explosions. Kidnappings, self-harm, and drug abuse also occur. Death and dismemberment are front and center, and sometimes the story takes a backseat to the action. Even the most noble of the show's cast has complex ethics, matching the dark tone of the series. 

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What's the story?

The government first became aware of HUNTERS -- that is, alien terrorists -- in 2009. In response, they formed the Exo-Terrorism Unit (ETU), a secret organization that battles the increasingly dangerous alien threat. FBI agent and former soldier Flynn Caroll (Nathan Phillips) finds himself recruited to ETU after his wife, Abby (Laura Gordon), is abducted by a Hunter. The special-ops force needs all the help they can get as the aliens look just like humans and are quickly infiltrating Earth. ETU isn't immune: Regan, an effective if emotional soldier, is hiding some suspiciously Hunter-like abilities.

Is it any good?

This show is a lot like 24 with aliens -- and feels a lot like it enjoys the pain (both physical and mental) of the characters a bit too much. Commander Truss Jackson (Lewis Fitz-Gerald) tells Flynn that ETU "deals with the kind of terrorists other agencies aren't equipped to handle," but the show doesn't do a great job of demonstrating what exactly makes them so effective. Mostly, they use the kind of violence and force consistent with wartime and homeland security narratives -- but the show seems to revel in the violence and high body count by lingering on shots of dismemberment and death. 

Tweens and teens will be interested in the series because it's like a cross between Call of Duty and the The X-Files. The action scenes come fast and furious, but younger viewers will need lots of guidance in processing the extreme means taken by ETU. The show does little to justify its methods beyond a basic "aliens bad, alien terrorists double-bad" paint-by-numbers approach. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about terrorism and media coverage. How does the way news stories depict military operations influence how TV and movies address these topics?

  • Families can talk about war and how it affects people. How does it influence the characters on this show? 

  • Families can talk about shows that feature aliens who suffer extreme violence. Is violence more prominently featured when its victims are fantastical or supernatural creatures, and is that OK?

TV details

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