Parents' Guide to

Northern Rescue

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Heartfelt, emotional drama tackles tough issues head on.

TV Netflix Drama 2019
Northern Rescue Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Way too mature for young teens and under

After reading the reviews and looking at the ratings we went ahead and started the 1st season with our 13 and 14 year olds. While there is a valuable storyline in there about a family losing their mom to illness and the love and resiliency that follows, this show is jam packed with drugs, alcohol, smoking, scantily clad rebellious teenage girls, talk of sex and bullying. It also has a sub plot addressing possibly infidelity of their deceased mom, the idea that the oldest child is a result of the affair and has not been told, and her past abusive relationship with that same man. All in all, much heavier stuff than I anticipated from reading the reviews. Beyond the content, I had a hard time with the idea that the show writes these things in the script but generally blows over them without showing consequences or even family discussions. There doesn’t seem to be resolutions, just more drama on top of drama to what end? For example, the teen boy smokes pot for the first time with a friend then goes to meet his coach to see about being reinstated on the team which he was kicked off of for fighting. I expected that this would be the moment that the coach calls him out etc. Not at all. The scene plays out focusing on him getting back on the team while not making eye contact with the coach and moves on. Another example is the best friend of the oldest teenage daughter. She is a drinking, smoking, sociopath in a bikini with zero redeeming qualities. I kept waiting for the show to write something that either showed the oldest daughter letting this friend go or something. Again, nothing, just a waste of space character being horrible for the sake of it. There is a teenage party full of drunk kids where the son gets in a fist fight inside his house breaking furniture and a lamp because he thinks another boy was in his bedroom sleeping with the girl he likes (which is the awful girl mentioned above), meanwhile the little sister is cowering in the house hiding with a bunch of drunk fighting teens. Again no consequences or resolution to this scene. During this same scene the older daughter is shown drinking straight from a bottle of hard alcohol and says “I’m really drunk”. This scene ends with her jumping in a car with her friend and driving hours to a motel to confront her dead moms supposed boyfriend. We stuck with the entire season watching it with our teenage children waiting for it to become more valuable but in the end it felt like a sad, revolving soap opera for teens similar to adult shows like Nashville or maybe teen shows like Riverdale (which I haven’t watched). Addictive in its characters and story in terms of feelings “what’s next?” But in the end it did not have enough redeeming characters or actions to continue next season. I think CBC really missed the mark on making what could have been a heartfelt family drama dealing with tough issues.
age 16+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

That this moving drama series doesn't shy away from telling a story about how bad life can be sometimes may not sound like a selling point, but it is. The show is a little slow to gain traction and isn't compelling right from the start, but when the characters' individual personalities evolve, you're drawn into their lengthy and turbulent healing and restarting process. John tries to balance being strong with being emotionally available for his kids, and they wrestle with their loss in different ways and with different measures of success.

As family dramas go, Northern Rescue makes a strong case for a place near the top of watch-together TV for parents and teens. It deals thoughtfully with emotion, teen rebellion, family discord, and life-altering loss, raising several potential discussion points for families. At the same time, the story presents characters who overcome challenges by leaning on each other and being open to change.

TV Details

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