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 Marvel's The Defenders brings together four superheroes from other Marvel series: Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil. Expect lots of battles with swords, guns, fists, super strength, and explosives, as well as on-screen deaths with blood but no gore. Some scenes have scary imagery, like shots of New York buildings rumbling and falling or a roomful of dead, bloody townspeople seen in a nightmare. Each superhero is single and available -- expect love interests, kissing, dating, references to sex, and on-screen sex with thrusting, moaning, and brief glimpses of nude bodies (no private parts visible). Jessica Jones is an alcoholic who frequently drinks while working. Cursing/strong language includes "hell," "s--t," "ass," "damn," and "goddamn." This show isn't as dark and violent as some of the original series, but it's still not appropriate for young/sensitive viewers because of sex, language, violence, and complicated themes.
What's the story?
In New York City, a Big Bad is brewing. Somebody's making the ground shake and buildings fall, and has plans for even greater destruction. Could it be The Hand, the shadowy organization that's haunted many of the superheroes who come together in MARVEL'S THE DEFENDERS to fight? Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Daredevil (Charlie Cox), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) are all lost in their own troubles as this series begins. Luke, just out of jail, is wrestling with the damage his powerful enemies did to his beloved Harlem; Iron Fist worries he's abandoned his loved ones threatened by The Hand; Jessica is still grappling with her abusive past and complicated present as a reluctant superhero; and Daredevil, now going by his real name Matt Murdock, has left heroics behind and is satisfying his urge to help and protect by doing pro bono legal work. But when a mysterious villainous presence, seemingly directed by secretive and powerful Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver), starts threatening the city itself, they're called together to defend the innocent lives under siege.
Is it any good?
Dark and gripping, this superhero series will appeal to fans who love big bad villains with big bad plans, and the complex heroes who oppose them despite their many limitations. Like the four series that star each individual hero, this isn't a simple superhero tale that can be wrapped up in an hour. Instead, bad guys and good guys (who are, to this series' credit, not always male) alike are complicated: Jessica drinks to escape her memories, Luke is alternately protective of and frustrated with the fallible characters who inhabit his neighborhood. Even the woman who emerges as the force attempting to bring about NYC's destruction, poised and cold Alexandra (gifted greatly with Sigourney Weaver's usual gravitas), has her secrets -- it's not even clear what she's up to, or why.
All of that remains to be slowly teased out by our quartet of superheroes, who begin the series still immersed in the storylines you'll recognize if you watched each series. Just how each characters' quirks and past will be integrated into one cohesive drama remains to be seen, but given the success of their big-screen counterparts The Avengers, uniting their worlds seems natural. How might their justice league differ from The Avengers? The Defenders is superheroics for adults: complicated, sexy, sometimes morally ambivalent, and if you liked any or all of the individual shows these characters inhabited, you'll like this, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Defenders' superheroes measure up as role models. What are their virtues? What are their vices? Why do we root for them in spite of their flaws?
Families can also talk about why superhero stories typically take place in large cities real or mythical: New York City, as is stated in the first few moments of this series, Batman's Gotham, Superman's Metropolis. What possibilities do cities offer for storylines that rural or suburban areas don't?
For kids who love superhero stories
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.