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Osmosis

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Osmosis TV Poster Image
Smart, fun sci-fi tale about futuristic dating app.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Messages about emotions, being emotionally honest and true to oneself, and the deep love that can exist between family members are clear, but much of the 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 & Representations

Characters are diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, and many strong, complex female characters have major roles. However, the only character with a 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 they regret their actions later. 

Violence

Violence is infrequent and in service of the plot, like when a character swallows an implant then falls to the ground shrieking in what's called a "panic attack." 

Sex

Romance and sex is central to the plot; characters are frequently shown having sex with movements and noises and brief nudity such as a scene where a hand is shown passing under a breast with an erect nipple. We see a nude man and woman from the side with no private parts visible, and a glimpse of a woman's bare backside as she dances. One character has "VR" sex in which she is in reality lying alone on a bed wearing goggles but in her vision she's receiving what looks like oral sex (the camera stays on her face as the man moves below the frame and down her body). One character is a "sex addict" and describes his addiction to pornography non-graphically. 

Language

Language is infrequent but expect the occasional epithet like "F--k!" 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink at social events. 

What 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. 

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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?

TV details

For kids who love sci-fi

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