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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 Northern Rescue is a Canadian drama about a family trying to cope with and move past the loss of their wife/mom. Their emotional journey involves intense grief, sadness, anger, and fear. Teens rebel in potentially harmful ways like drinking and getting high (it's not shown, but a character comes home under the influence) and beating up a classmate (it happens offscreen, but injuries are visible). Expect occasional language like "bitch," "damn," and "sucks." Teen and adult couples kiss, and there's potential danger in a main character's work in search and rescue. But this compelling series also has strong themes of perseverance and overcoming adversity. William Baldwin stars.
Way too mature for young teens and under
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What's the Story?
In NORTHERN RESCUE, life changes in an instant for the West family when Sarah (Michelle Nolden) dies unexpectedly and leaves her husband, John (William Baldwin), a widower with three kids. Reeling from the loss and desperate for a fresh start, John moves them from Boston to his tiny hometown of Turtle Island Bay. Nursing a hidden grief of her own, Sarah's younger sister, Charlie (Kathleen Robertson), pitches in to help care for Maddie (Amalia Williamson), Scout (Spencer Macpherson), and Taylor (Taylor Thorne) so that John can focus on his new post as head of the town's search and rescue team.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the characters in Northern Rescue grieve and recover in different ways. How do their individual responses reflect their personalities? How do they cope with setbacks? Are there "right" and "wrong" ways to handle difficult life events?
How do the characters demonstrate perseverance and courage? How do these character strengths look different in different people? Why are these kinds of traits important?
How do you keep the lines of communication open in your family? What role does a strong support system play in your ability to overcome challenges?
- Premiere date: March 1, 2019
- Cast: William Baldwin, Kathleen Robertson, Amalia Williamson
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, High School
- Character Strengths: Perseverance
- TV rating: TV-14
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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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.See how we rate