Parents' Guide to

Kindred

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Racial violence and language in book-based time-travel show.

Kindred Television: Poster image

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This beguiling book-turned-series takes its time getting somewhere, but it's a ride you won't mind going on, intriguing as the setup and execution are. The setup is the same in Olivia Butler's iconic novel, transported to modern times: Characters have phones and social media accounts. The 1815 part of the equation remains unchanged, with Dana inexplicably and unpredictably disappearing from her real life and transported bodily to a southern plantation where she's as endangered as any woman of color in slaveholding times in a slaveholding state.

It was a groundbreaking premise in Octavia Butler's 1979 novel, and fans have been vocal in their criticism of this adaptation, complaining that some of the themes of Butler's story have been lost. That may be so, but Kindred still presents an interesting mystery (Why is Dana time traveling, and can she stop?) and meaty messages about race, class, power, and gender. As Dana, Mallori Johnson is called upon to navigate tricky tonal shifts, and she's appealing and natural, a strong and complicated female character audiences will want to watch, caught in the grip of something she can't control or understand.

TV Details

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