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 this docuseries features people illegal distilling and selling corn whisky (a.k.a. moonshine), and police officers trying to stop them. Not surprisingly, drinking and drunken behavior is often visible, along with occasional cigarette smoking. Moonshiners and law enforcement officers carry and point guns during the course of their work, and there's some discussion of past violent encounters between the two groups, including images of bloody murder scenes. Words like "damn" and "hell" are occasionally audible and anything stronger is bleeped.
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What's the story?
MOONSHINERS is a documentary series featuring Appalachian moonshiners during the height of the summer distilling season, and some of the law enforcement officials trying to stop them. Cameras follow contemporary bootleggers as they distill and sell corn whisky, the making of which they view as part of their cultural history. Viewers also get to see officers like Special Agent Jesse Tate send in informants, raid storage houses, and arrest distillers in order to end their illegal operations. Detailed explanations of how corn whisky is produced and footage of infamous moonshiners are also featured.
Is it any good?
The series offers a unique look into the world of today's moonshiners, many of who justify their illegal actions as a commitment to their heritage and as a way of making money to support their families. But it is law enforcement that offers a darker description of the underground trade, which they claim is driven by greed and violence.
The show attempts to offer a balanced look at both sides, but the likable personalities of some of the moonshiners, and the conversations about the role bootlegging has had in American history, sometimes make it hard to remember that what they are doing is illegal. Nonetheless, it succeeds at offering viewers an interesting and voyeuristic look into a world that most people know little or nothing about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why some documentaries showcase illegal activities. Is it responsible or ethical to feature people that are engaged in illegal acts, even for a show that is supposed to be informational and offers multiple points of view? Why do you think these moonshiners were willing to appear on reality television doing something they know is illegal?
Are there any stereotypes associated with moonshiners? Are those stereotypes challenged or reinforced in this series?
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