By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Smart, fun sci-fi tale about futuristic dating app.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Messages about emotions, being emotionally honest and true to oneself, and deep love that can exist between family members are clear, but much of show's plot is driven by a character's decision to break with both legal and moral regulations to achieve her aims.
Positive Role Models
Characters are diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, and many strong, complex female characters have major roles. But only character with larger body type says about herself "I'm the fat girl you sleep with out of pity and then forget it ever happened" and seems desperate for love. Characters make risky and/or immoral choices but regret actions later.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is infrequent and in service of plot, like when a character swallows an implant and then falls to ground shrieking in what's called a "panic attack."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance and sex is central to plot: characters frequently shown having sex (movements, noises, brief nudity such as hand shown passing under breast with erect nipple). A nude man and woman from side, no private parts visible; glimpse of woman's bare backside as she dances. One character has VR sex: in reality lying alone on bed wearing goggles, but in her vision receiving what looks like oral sex (camera stays on her face as man moves below frame and down her body). One character is a "sex addict," describes his addiction to pornography non-graphically.
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Language is infrequent but expect occasional epithet like "f--k!"
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at social events.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Osmosis is a futuristic drama about a brother-sister team that's created a soulmate-finding technology. This series is less violent than many science fiction shows, though the sexual content veers toward the mature, with characters having both actual sex and vivid imagined sex with motions, noises, and brief glimpses of body parts like breasts and backsides. Expect to see implied oral sex (the camera stays on the face of the woman receiving it), and a self-confessed "sex addict" non-graphically describing his addiction to pornography. Violence is infrequent and mild, such as a man who collapses screaming in a panic attack after having swallowed a nanobot implant. Language is also infrequent but characters say "f--k" a few times. Characters are diverse in terms of ethnicity and race, with strong and complex female characters, but a character with a larger body type isn't treated well. Messages about love, romantic and familial, are complicated and may provoke thought or conversation.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In a five-minutes-from-now world, brother-sister team Esther (Agathe Bonitzer) and Paul Vanhove (Hugo Becker) have created OSMOSIS, a next-level dating app that uses an implant to find and connect soulmates. Newly in beta testing, Osmosis has already helped Paul find his wife Joséphine (Philypa Phoenix), and may, Esther hopes, revive the siblings' comatose mother (Aurélia Petit). But when the system and its users behave in ways Esther and Paul don't expect, what started out dreamy may prove to be something of a nightmare.
Is It Any Good?
With sharply thought-out ideas and a distinct feminine gaze that's rare in science fiction, this futuristic take on love versus tech has more appeal than similar-looking series. Osmosis' characters inhabit a world where the sun has seemingly been overtaken by a blah blue filter, spend most of their time having conversations at bare tables, and dress only in the blandest of beiges and blacks. But this show's sparky underpinnings animate the visual dullness, and give viewers plenty to chew on. Most sci-fi is produced by and aimed at men, but creator Audrey Fouché injects concerns into her drama that speak to what both women and men worry about right now, and presumably still will in the future.
Because what the Osmosis technology promises is nothing more or less than true love. As Esther points out to the (no doubt doomed) beta group trying out the system, "Human thoughts and emotions travel by electrical signals and chemical reactions." True! A gadget that could decode these signals and reactions doesn't sound too far-fetched, nor does Osmosis' promise to find a match for each users' unique brainwaves. And any viewer who's lost a loved one to brain damage or dementia can see the built-in appeal of something that might bring them back. But if all Osmosis did was help each user find a happy relationship, this would be a really boring show. And it's not.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about some of the themes featured in Osmosis. What is this show saying about the way our society uses technology, including social media? Do you think the show's dark, satirical style helps make these points? Or does it detract from them?
Are viewers meant to understand right away what type of world our characters live in? Why, or why not? Can you name other shows that attempt to deliver twists the viewer doesn't expect?
What might this series be trying to say about the nature of love? Is this a show about technology, or something much more human, like relationships?
- Premiere date: March 29, 2019
- Cast: Lena Lapres, Hugo Becker, Haviland Stillwell
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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