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 Messiah is a mystery-drama about a Christ-like cult leader who operates in the Middle East. The show involves both religion and global politics, and it's come under scrutiny for potential anti-Islamic sentiment and stereotypical portrayals of Muslims. The show contains some sexual content, including brief male nudity, and profanity includes "s--t" and "f--k." There are also some depictions of smoking and drinking. Violence is often threatened, if not shown outright, and the show features both military and terrorist groups. Teens who have the maturity to understand the complex plot and setting may enjoy this intense series.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When CIA officer Eva Geller (Michelle Monaghan) learns of a man named al-Masih (Mehdi Dehbi), who has developed a religious following in Damascus, she immediately suspects him of being a fraud with ulterior motives. MESSIAH follows Eva and others as they attempt to figure out what al-Masih might be up to.
Is it any good?
The setup is familiar but promising: A detective-like character tries to figure out whether or not a charismatic leader is a fraud or the real deal. Messiah's premise is essentially a global twist on Homeland's, where cultural differences should factor in to the mystery. But it feels content to rest on its premise without either the character or plot development to keep it consistently engaging.
It seems like there's extra political and religious context needed to enjoy it, but at the same time the politics and religious aspects of the show are underdeveloped (one of the reasons the show has been surrounded by controversy). Psychological thrillers like this rely on complexity to create suspense, but viewers' faith in Messiah is likely to feel misplaced.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about religion and belief systems. How can you tell a real religious leader from a fraud? How do the characters on Messiah deal with this issue?
How does the show make you feel about the Middle East? Does it give you a better understanding of the complex politics of that region? Why or why not?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love drama
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch