Marvel's The Defenders

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Marvel's The Defenders TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Dark, modern superhero tale has heroics, adult themes.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

These superheroes' tactics are questionable at times -- Jessica frees a friend's car when it's being towed by police -- but their primary goal is to protect and help their fellow citizens, particularly against one very dangerous enemy.                  

Positive Role Models & Representations

All of the Defenders are role models to an extent, but some, like healthy-living Luke Cage, who mentors a young Harlem man to keep him from a life of crime, are easier to admire than others, like the hard-drinking, bitter Jessica Jones. 


Expect lots of battles (sword fighting, fistfighting, martial arts, occasional gunplay or explosions) as well as on-screen deaths (of obviously "bad guys") with blood but no gore, villainous threats, scenes of destruction. Individual heroes have their own superpower that makes them largely invincible: super strength and invincibility, super senses. Some scenes have nightmarish imagery that may disturb young/sensitive viewers, like Danny's dream that his hometown friends are all lying dead and bloody as a result of his actions. 


A couple has athletic sex on a table with moaning and thrusting; both are briefly visible nude from the side (no private parts can be seen); other superheroes have love interests. Expect dating, kissing, nonexplicit sex, occasional rude jokes/references as when Jessica says a missing man may be "knee-deep in some intern." 


Cursing and strong language includes "hell," "s--t," "ass," "damn," "goddamn"; one man calls another "bitch" to imply he's weak. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jessica looks to be an alcoholic -- in her first scene in this series, she wakes up in a bar saying "the night's just getting started," has whiskey in her coffee soon afterward, and drinks frequently when she's working. Occasional references to drugs in a criminal justice context. 

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMark S. August 21, 2017

Way too exaggerated common sense

The show is great! Any adult who likes action would enjoy it. The first episode is the only inappropriate episode in the 8 episode series. There is a 20 second... Continue reading
Adult Written byChris_Feher April 7, 2020

Great Crossover Show

Unfortunately, it was only one season long, so there isn't much to review. But, I would highly recommend this show to anyone who has watched any of the 4 f... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 20, 2019

Great show...

Great show. It combines elements of all of the shows, some good, and some bad. There is a 20-second sex scene at the max. There is violence, but the tamest amou... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySpace Jesus May 26, 2021


Heroes are okay, villains suck. Really nothing else to say.

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? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love superhero stories

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