A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Story centers on characters' search for purpose and truth in their lives and how it's influenced by relationships with others. Characters are looking for inspiration, a way to leave a mark on the world, but lack direction at times. This leads to some rule-breaking and mean-spirited pranks with repercussions for other people but rarely significant ones for themselves. Themes of friendship and challenging stereotypes, though in some instances, prejudice seems to prevail.
Positive Role Models
Adults tend to be militaristic, domineering. The Eagle is always on the hunt for rule breakers, threatening to expel for any infraction. Miles' parents allow him freedom but constantly question his reasons. Teens don't always make the most responsible decisions, sometimes engage in behavior that's illegal, but at heart of what they do is a deep desire to find themselves and their direction in life.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, making out between teens. At least one scene shows a couple having sex in bed, with the guy's naked backside visible briefly. Talk of STDs, other sexual topics, always in casual and carefree terms. Miles' father advises him to keep his "pecker in his pants."
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Frequent use of "f--k," "f--king," "goddamn," "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch," "ass," "damn," etc.
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Products & Purchases
The series is based on the novel of the same name by John Green.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes and marijuana, usually without consequence.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Looking for Alaska is a dramatic miniseries based on a young adult book of the same name and features the kind of fascinating character development and teen insight that has helped author John Green become a mainstay in the genre. That said, the series is rife with strong language (pretty much anything goes, from "damn" to "f--k" in every possible use) and other adult behavior that the teens have to work hard to obscure in order to avoid expulsion from their boarding school. A bedroom scene reveals a guy's naked backside as a couple makes out, several teens drink and buy alcohol with fake credentials, and smoking is fairly commonplace. There's also a subtle darkness to some of the characters and their backstories, hinting at unpleasant realities in their lives. This story touches on issues like racial and socioeconomic inequality, prejudice, and the challenging of society's norms in honest and sometimes uncomfortable ways, encouraging viewers to think on them after the show's end. Because of its mature content, this series is intended for older teens and adults.
Is It Any Good?
This series does well to not cut corners on developing the intoxicating characters John Green developed in his first award-winning novel. The eight-part format allows for each one to be introduced and revealed over the time that their complexity demands, and this is Looking for Alaska's real treasure. Obviously, Miles is at the forefront from the beginning, relatable in his determination to find life's inspiration and surprisingly solid in his willingness to stick to his values while still broadening his experiences among new company. Self-assured Alaska coaxes him out of his shell a little at a time, but even as they get closer and he gets to know her better, she's still mysterious and captivating to Miles and to viewers. And therein lies the show's hook.
While this central relationship evolves, others fill the background in similarly fascinating fashion. The Colonel is a thoroughly intriguing character, a hard-working "scholarship kid" as Alaska coins them (herself included), completely out of his element and at odds with those more privileged by money and, in his assessment, by race, which makes his choice of girlfriends in the sharp-tongued debutante Sara (Landry Bender) that much more perplexing. Even The Eagle and the resident baddies, the Weekend Warriors, have backstories that hint at further depth and leave viewers wanting more. Looking for Alaska is an authentic dissection of the teen experience as seen through the eyes of several heterogeneous characters expertly crafted by Green and portrayed by this show's talented cast.
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.