In the City

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
In the City TV Poster Image
Racy British soap wallows in drugs and sex.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters engage in bad and often criminal activity, including drugs, stealing, and prostitution. Lying and cheating comes naturally for most of them, and using sex for personal gain (blackmail or money, mostly) is common.

Violence

The occasional fistfights or slaps usually don't result in blood.

Sex

Photos of naked women (mostly side views with breasts and some pubic hair exposed) are common. Nude men sometimes walk into the scene with butts in full view. A post-coital scene shows a woman putting on her bra; another shot includs two girls kissing. Men sneak glances up ladies' skirts, women eye and comment on guys' butts, and one supporting character is a transvestite.

Language

Infrequent uses of "f--k" are bleeped; other mild swearing and British slang.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The characters often drink beer and liquor, both at home and in social settings. Some drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British soap (a spin-off of popular guilty pleasure Hollyoaks) is filled with sex, drugs, alcohol, and criminal behavior. Scenes sometimes feature nudity (butts, posters of naked women whose breasts and pubic hair are visible, etc.). One main character is a prostitute (though sex isn't shown, she gets paid hefty wads of cash in post-coital scenes) and another is a shady businessman who threatens people who owe him money. Frequent alcohol and drug use includes spiking drinks (in one case, so a woman can take advantage of a man) and snorting what's presumably cocaine.

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What's the story?

Mature British soap IN THE CITY (known as Hollyoaks: In the City across the pond) centers on a group of young adults making their way in the fast-paced urban world. Ben (Marcus Patric) and Lisa (Gemma Atkinson) are newcomers to Liverpool, having moved there to chase Ben's dream of running a night club. But their naiveté regarding the city's dangerous dealings makes them easy targets; in no time, Ben loses their savings to a business scam, and Lisa gets lured in by a modeling company whose owner, Burton (Lee Warburton), dabbles in a variety of illegal activities. Ben also falls victim to the clutches of Kay (Kym Marsh), a scheming model whom Burton hires out to high-class gentlemen in need of some \"female companionship.\" Meanwhile, Ben's buddy/roommate Tank Top (Leon Lopez) keeps stealing glances at Lisa's butt; their other roomie, Adam (Philip Culver), is involved in a relationship with one of his high school students and has also taken a liking to his pretty flatmate.

Is it any good?

There's little to rescue this soapy series from its quagmire of sex, drugs, and crime. Partial male and female nudity leaves little to the imagination, some characters use sex for personal gain and use power to get sex, drugs are shared among friends and enemies, and nearly everyone has an ulterior motive. Amid it all, the few well-intentioned characters usually suffer at the hands of criminals and thugs. In the City's decidedly mature content should make parents wary of giving teens the go-ahead, and adults will find the storylines redundant and the performances somewhat forced.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what living on your own is like. Teens: What do you plan to do when you leave home? How will you make a living? What worries do you have about being on your own? What do you think will be the most challenging aspect? The most rewarding? Do you think your own life as an adult will be anything like what's depicted in this series? What makes over-the-top soaps like this one fun to watch? When do they go too far?

TV details

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