A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
In an opening scene, the headmistress Miss Grayling describes successful students at Mallory Towers as "good, sound women the world can lean on." Throughout the series, characters live up to this idea of success. At their boarding school, the students deal with the challenges associated with growing up and moving away from home. Friendship is an important tool used to build community and overcome feelings of loneliness. While conflict between students arise, issues resolve, lessons are learned, and friendship are ultimately strengthened.
Positive Role Models
The headmistress Miss Grayling is a positive adult role model for her students. She provides advice and helps support the girls on their social and academic journeys. Darrell Rivers is a sometimes flawed but relatable protagonist. Darrell makes mistakes but grows from each of her missteps. She struggles with her temper, but with the help of her friends and teachers learns to utilize her emotions to standup for others.
This adaptation of Enid Blyton's book series reimages classic characters through colorblind casting. Both the students and teachers at Malory Towers are racially and physically diverse. Despite disapproval from other characters, the female students challenge stereotypes by playing sports, being interested in science, and prioritizing careers alongside their education. Even when she struggles with dyslexia, Darrell is always viewed as a smart and capable writer.
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Violence & Scariness
The topics of isolation and bullying are addressed through various characters and plots. During arguments between girls, characters can result to brief, physical altercations such as pushing other characters, briefly holding someone's head underwater, and slapping another person out of anger. In all instances, violence is condemned and constructive resolutions are reached. Scenes of peril are also present when a student sneaks out of the dormitory alone before their assigned bedtime. Girls are told a ghost story by older students. Later, "I am watching you" is written on a bathroom window, but it is revealed to be a prank and not a ghost.
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In the various conflicts between students, characters engage in name calling including describing people as "doughty," "cowardly custard," "greedy guts," and "useless neck." One girl insults another girl's ill mother saying she is old and dreary.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Malory Towers is a historical drama based on the popular children's book series by Enid Blyton. The show is centered around the lives of students that attend a women's boarding school in Cornwall. It covers themes such as growing up, fitting in, and moving away from home. Darrell Rivers is a likable main character and great role model. She values her friends, and learns to use her temper to stand up for others. The students of Malory Towers discover the importance of building relationships and community to overcome feelings of loneliness. Conflict between students can sometimes result in pushing, slapping, or name calling, but any violence and insults are always reprimanded and characters resolve arguments positively. Even if viewers haven't read the original books, this series can be appreciated by new and lifelong fans alike.
Is It Any Good?
This updated adaptation of a classic book series is a worthwhile reintroduction of Blyton's beloved characters to a younger generation. While still set post World War II, Malory Towers improves upon the source material with a more representative and diverse cast. Some of the characters, like Gwen, fall flat as their writing relies on classic cliches like the "spoiled brat" and "mean girl." However, Darrell is a wonderful character who viewers can invest their time in with the satisfaction of watching her personal growth. Even if she's imperfect, Darrell is constantly learning and reflecting on her mistakes. Through adventures on the Cornish seaside and impromptu midnight feasts, the relationships built at Malory Towers include strong and worthwhile depictions of female friendship.
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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.
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