A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Despite extremely dark themes, the narrator repeatedly give a slew of advice, including:
- Pick your company wisely.
- Knowledge is power, so read every book you can.
- When you're angry be silent if you can't be calm.
- Dream so big you feel uncomfortable sharing your dreams with small-minded people.
- Kids learn by example, so do your best do set a good one.
- Step out of your comfort zone and see the world; you'll come back changed.
- Cry from time to time and let out the hurt.
- Feel proud of where you come from because it's your journey.
- Never underestimate the power of an apology.
- Tell those you love that you love them now because you might not get the chance later.
- It will be your compassion and your willingness to help others that people will remember you for.
- Nothing comes with you when it's your time to go.
- We only learn to love our true selves when we finally stop hating others.
- You never know what others have been through.
Positive Role Models
Gogo has made a lot of bad decisions but he's trying to leave the criminal life and do right by his growing family. The dire consequences of his actions are continually on display, and he conveys true regret. Marcus is also sucked into the gang life but does his best to look after his younger brother.
The entire cast is Black, as are the creators.
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Violence & Scariness
There are repeated graphic portrayals of violence, especially gun violence, as well as scenes of police brutality and boys being jumped. The show has a constant sense of danger and starts with a narrator saying that he feels like if he stays in his city, he's going to die. Multiple people are shown being shot dead in slow motion with a lot of blood and gory imagery. People threaten to go after one of the main character's family members. There's a brutal scene of a home invasion. Children are killed. There's also an abusive drug addict mother and a depiction of a person overdosing via intravenous drugs.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple is shown lying in bed together in the morning.
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Profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "p----y," and "bitch," is used heavily.
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Products & Purchases
High value is placed on having money to buy luxury cars, gold grills, fancy watches, and diamond jewelry. But the narrator also notes that he was never taught to truly love himself, that instead he loved the money and all the fancy things it could buy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are repeated graphic images of IV drug use, bong use, smoking marijuana, and doing a fictional drug called "gold dust" that glows and makes people's eyes glow gold. Adults are shown drinking in nightclubs. Two men kill someone for drugs. Multiple people are shown under the influence of, and addicted to, drugs. A character dies from overdosing on intravenous drugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jungle is a dark and extremely violent show about gang life in inner-city London. Profanity is used heavily and there is gory and graphic imagery of gun violence and intravenous drug use. The narrators do a lot of self-reflecting, and give useful advice about how to live a good life, but the show is not appropriate for children.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.