A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this mature primetime cable drama airs with strong, unbleeped language, although "s--t" is as strong as it gets. There's also some strong simulated sex (with bare buttocks, but no other sensitive body parts) and a plot that revolves around the violent sport of boxing. You'll see anything you'd see in a regular boxing match along with occasional shootings and beatings outside of the ring. There's also some occasional social drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
LIGHTS OUT follows the struggles of retired professional boxer Patrick "Lights" Leary (Holt McCallany) -- a former heavyweight champ turned full-time familyman who once had $12 million in the bank, but now owes the IRS seven figures thanks to a sobering recession, his manager brother's (Pablo Schreiber) shady dealings, and his father's (Stacy Keach) prized boxing gym. The way Lights sees it, the only way to pay back his debts and provide for his wife (Catherine McCormack) and daughters (Meredith Hagner, Ryann Shane, and Lily Pilblad) is to re-enter the ring after a five-year absence. But doing so at 40 is a serious gamble.
Is it any good?
From the mind of executive producer Warren Leight (In Treatment) -- the series has some serious weight behind it. But, much like an old-school fighter who conserves his energy in the early rounds until his flashy, young opponent tires out, Lights Out feels like it's holding back on purpose. McCallany's performance is strong and earnest, a lot like the knocked-around guy he plays, But there aren't enough right-hook moments in the script, which could prompt some viewers to beat it before the getting gets good.
It's a nice touch having Keach, who played a past-his-prime fighter in John Huston's Fat City, co-star as Lights's dad, who doubles as his coach. But the English-born McCormack is less effective as the fighter's wife, who lets her accent slip far too often to convince us that she's really from New Jersey.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's representations of a boxing family and what it's like to fight for a living. What are some of the reasons a person would pick boxing as a career? Do the risks of being a professional boxer outweigh the benefits? How does having a dangerous profession affect family relationships?
Is it ever OK to lie or do something illegal if you feel you have no other choice? What could Lights have done instead of making the choices he made?
Why have there been so many movies -- but so few television shows -- about boxing? What's your opinion of this series? Do you think it will appeal to viewers in spite of the sport's waning popularity?