Parents' Guide to

Jungle

By Stephanie Morgan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Rap, magical realism tell brutal tale of London gang life.

Jungle TV show: Poster

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Part Romeo + Juliet, part Boyz n the Hood, the limited series, set in a near future London, certainly feels like a Shakespearean tragedy from the start. This British show, Jungle, is a classic tale of characters trapped by their situations, desperately trying to pull "one last job" in order to make a clean break, and its themes are anything but subtle. From the opening monologue there's an overt and ongoing examination of how Black men in "the hood" are forced to hide fear and display aggression in order to survive, the trauma that they experience as a result, and how that feeds into a cycle that repeats itself generation after generation. While the message is clear, the execution is not.

With everything from breaking the fourth wall and mysterious glowing objects to Blade Runner-esque city skylines and conversations carried out using only rap and drill music, the overall feel is decidedly chaotic. Then the story switches to a completely different narrative halfway through. For all its faults, though, Jungle is still highly original and manages to create emotional connections between viewers and the characters, who are incredibly introspective and specific on where they've gone wrong. It's a series that has a lot of valuable lessons, but is also brutally graphic in its depiction of drug abuse, gun violence, and children murdering children, making it suitable for adults only.

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