A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
In 2008, Sam's precinct is a diverse mix of men, women, African-American, and Caucasian officers. In 1973, it's mostly made up of male Caucasians; women are in a separate (and less high-profile) unit. Attitudes about race, gender, and other social issues in 1973 reflect the thinking of the time.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of guns; shots are often fired. Lt. Hunt believes in "roughing up" witnesses, alleged criminals, and even fellow officers. Lots of punching, pushing, and shoving. Scenes show car accidents and people jumping through windows. Bloody clothing is sometimes visible. References to violent sexual behavior and serial killers.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters exhibit the sexist attitudes and behavior that were prevalent in the 1970s. Words like "gams" are used to describe women's legs. Some scenes show adults are kissing in bed, but characters are fully dressed.
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Language includes occasional use of words like "ass" and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
In the 2008 scenes, an Apple iPod is clearly visible. Lots of visual references to classic 1970s shows like Kojak and Starsky & Hutch. Also features lots of tunes from the early '70s, including David Bowie's song "Life on Mars" and songs by The Sweet, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and others.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of references to drinking and being drunk; police officers and detectives are shown drinking scotch and other liquor. Cigarette smoking also visible, as was typical in the early '70s.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this crime series (a remake of a same-named British show) features behavior that would be considered very "un-PC" today but was socially acceptable in the 1970s -- including plenty of sexism and racism, as well as cigarette smoking and drinking. There's also lots of violence, ranging from gunfire to detectives assaulting alleged criminals, uncooperative witnesses, and, on occasion, fellow police officers. While the language is relatively mild, words like "ass" are occasionally heard.
Is It Any Good?
While this remake of the original award-winning British series doesn't have the same sophistication and subtle humor as its predecessor, it succeeds in capturing the original show's overall spirit. It effectively combines elements of science fiction and procedural crime solving in a way that's both mysterious and entertaining. Adding to the fun are the constant '70s references, including popular crime shows like Kojak and songs from a variety of '70s performers.
Not surprisingly, the show highlights some of the issues raised by the era's cultural revolution and features some of the attitudes and behaviors that were typical of that time period. While some of the more negative aspects of the time -- like institutionalized sexism, racism, and unchecked police violence -- are introduced within the context of the time (and usually to Tyler's dismay), they aren't very positive messages. Teens who watch may benefit from a discussion about what was socially acceptable then and why some of these behaviors are no longer viewed as politically (or legally) correct. But that aside, it's fair to say that this series is a great pick for viewers who enjoy a little intrigue mixed into their detective shows.
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Our Editors Recommend
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