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 soapy grown-up drama centers on a con man who’s trying to ease out of the grifter lifestyle. But it’s going to be tough to extricate himself from all his lies, especially since he’s living a double life, with a wife in one town and a girlfriend in another. The show's entire premise forces viewers to deal with moral ambiguities and presents the main character as a lovable crook -- a complex situation that makes it more age-appropriate for older teens and up. There's some drinking and the occasional fistfight, as well as some racy sex scenes that, even though they don’t have any nudity, are still pretty suggestive.
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What's the story?
Bob Allen (James Wolk) has a problem. He’s a talented con man -- shady Texas oil-well leases are his specialty -- but after years of bilking town after town and then moving on, he wants to go straight and settle down. His dad (David Keith), who raised him to be a grifter, has no interest in quitting, especially when they’re preparing to land their biggest mark ever: Clint Thatcher (Jon Voight), who runs one of the biggest oil companies in the LONE STAR state. They’ve been working this con for so long that Bob even married Clint’s daughter, Cat (Adrianne Palicki). And there’s another problem: Bob still has ties to the last town they ripped off -- a girlfriend (Eloise Mumford) with whom he lives half the time and a growing sense of guilt that he’s stolen the life savings of her family and neighbors. All of these lies could unravel in a second, but Bob has a plan…
Is it any good?
Con stories must fool both the audience and the target. Get viewers interested, but don’t show them enough to see how it all goes down. Lone Star gets that much right. From the start, we’re curious how Bob pulls off his double life. But scam tales also must make you root for the grifters, and Lone Star gets that half-right. Clint is so crusty -- and so rich -- that nobody will cry if he loses some of his fortune. But Bob’s girlfriend, Lindsay ... that’s different. She and her family are all likeable, decent folk, and losing their savings will ruin them. We don’t want to see them get hurt, and neither does Bob.
Here the show veers into new territory. Can Bob bilk Clint’s company and fix the damage he’s caused to Lindsay and her town? It’s an intriguing idea and will be plenty of fun to see develop. Keith and Voight stand out in their supporting roles, but the weight of the show falls on Wolk. In con-man-mode, he's charming and smooth; it’s easy to see how people fall for him. But in his regular life -- both of them -- he has less depth. He seems to have just one emotional setting: cheerful. But Bob is in over his head, and a winning grin may not be enough to help.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes someone a "good guy" or a "bad guy." Are viewers supposed to root for Bob? Does it matter that he's a crook? Can you think of other movies and TV shows where the heroes and the villains aren't really all that different?
What do you think the show is saying about love and relationships?
Do you find Bob’s cons believable? Do you think you could be fooled?