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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Promotes hard work and reinforces the idea that nothing worthwhile is ever just handed to you -- you have to earn it.
Positive Role Models
The student captains of each part of the band take their responsibilities seriously. Series does a good job showing how they have to balance being in a position of authority with not alienating their peers.
"S--t," "ass," harsher words are bleeped.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Students are shown going to a nightclub but it's unclear if they are drinking alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Marching Orders is a documentary series that goes behind the scenes with the Bethune-Cookman University marching band, one of the top collegiate bands in the country. Some viewers may remember the band from the movie Drumline. The show focuses on the student leaders of various sections of the band and provides examples of many different role models. Apart from some mild language, this inspirational show is great for teens, especially those with an interest in music.
Is It Any Good?
A rich, fascinating subject is ultimately underserved by this series' much too brief running time. Each episode runs between 10 and 13 minutes long, and it never feels like enough time to explore any person, situation, or relationship with any kind of depth. Having access to 300 college students all trying to work together and maintain a legacy of greatness should provide fertile territory for compelling storytelling.
Unfortunately, the makers give the viewer very little historical context about the band to keep the audience invested in their success. We hear that the band has played at the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl and that they're the champions, but it's never clear how long this legacy has lasted, or why, out of all the historically black colleges in Florida, this school has produced such a successful band program. Instead, the show features lots of practice footage with the band members spouting platitudes about how hard you have to work and how fortunate they are to be part of the band. It's inspirational, for sure, but what could have been an eye-opening, inside look at the complexities of college-level band performance and the ways that participating impacts the lives of the students winds up being a pretty superficial treatment of the subject matter.
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.