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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 this is a largely psychological drama that gets pretty intense, with some sudden violent acts (including kidnappings and druggings) and characters who use guns and knives for protection, albeit with minimal bloodletting. Language is surprisingly clean, with only a few, rare utterances of words like "hell" or "damn." But other iffy content may hard to predict, due to the show's structure of revealing more about characters' secrets over time.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
PERSONS UNKNOWN are holding seven strangers (Daisy Betts, Jason Wiles, Chadwick Boseman, Tina Holmes, Kate Lang Johnson, Sean O'Bryan, and Alan Ruck) hostage in an eerily quiet ghost town -- but none of the captives can remember how they got there. All they know is that one moment, they were living their lives, and the next, they were waking up in a locked hotel room with a surveillance camera tracking their every move and emotion. Once the strangers band together into a makeshift tribe for mutual protection, they try to deduce who's pulling the strings, and whom they can trust.
Is it any good?
On its face, Persons Unknown has a pretty absurd premise: Seven strangers wake up in a deserted town that could easily double as a movie-set backlot, only to find that they can't leave thanks to some sort of invisible fence line that's being controlled remotely by an unseen source. (Luckily, they can order Chinese food from the restaurant across the street. Yes, really.) But once you buy into the strangers' predicament, it somehow becomes plausible, if not oddly compelling -- particularly when you realize they're not living there alone.
Much like the wildly successful Lost, Persons Unknown plans to reveal its characters' secrets over time through flashbacks that shed light on their puzzling pasts. And while its no longer wholly original, that type of forumla promises game-changing plot twists that will likely keep fans interested. What's more, it's got real appeal as a gritty series both teens and parents can enjoy...a rare thing in today's prime time programming.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's plot structure and format, and the popularity of other TV dramas with central mysteries that reveal themselves over time. What devices do the writers use to keep you interested from week to week?
What do you make of the central characters? Would you say they're a diverse bunch? Do any of them represent popular stereotypes, or do they tend to defy things we've seen on TV before?
What role does violence play in the show's appeal? Do you think there's too much violence? Too little?
For kids who love thrills
Our editors recommend
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.