Power TV Poster Image

Power

Twisty drama has too much sex, drugs, violence for teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show presents a glamorized view of a successful drug dealer, replete with fancy houses, expensive cars, and lots of luxury goods. Women are often treated as sexual objects, with the camera lingering on body parts without showing the women's faces.

Positive role models

Characters on Power are conflicted and duplicitous: They pay lip service to family bonds and friendship, yet use murder, intimidation, and violence to get their way.

Violence

Very intense violence includes point-blank shootings with blood and gore, stabbings, and knife slashings. Children may be in jeopardy, as may parents. Characters we've gotten to know die suddenly and horribly on-screen.

Sex

Frequent nudity and sex. Women's breasts and bare bottoms are shown in each episode; naked male bodies often are shown, but the audience doesn't see genitalia. Couples are shown having graphic sex with moaning and thrusting, sometimes in the context of violent situations. A woman cheats on her husband by masturbating for an associate; a man has an appealing-looking affair despite being in love with his wife.

Language

A near-constant stream of curses, including every four-letter word you can think of, unbleeped. Curses serve as punctuation, as affectionate nicknames, and as threats of violence.

Consumerism

Luxury goods such as cars, shoes, and bags are name-checked frequently, with real designer names such as Prada and Gucci mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drugs are central to the show's plot. Many people are shown drinking and using drugs, sometimes pleasurably, sometimes not.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Power is an intense drama about a New York City drug dealer who's trying to go legit in the nightclub business. This show has all the elements that might worry parents: sex, drugs, violence, and language. Characters are killed on-screen in various horrible ways; they also are tortured, with blood, gore, and dead bodies. Women are menaced with sexually tinged violence; they also are treated as objects, with the camera lingering on the faceless body parts of scantily clad young women. Bared breasts and buttocks are seen in each episode, as is sometimes very graphic sex, with nude bodies and thrusting (no genitals are seen). Cursing is near-constant, with F-words and other epithets used as threats or affectionately. Drug use is somewhat glamorized, and designers and luxury goods are name-checked frequently.

What's the story?

James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) has POWER, but heavy lies the head that wears the crown. His venerable and successful drug-dealing business is facing new and deadly threats, while the nightclub he's launched with his colleague Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora), Truth, has its own problems. The real truth is that Truth, while massively successful, doesn't earn him nearly the amount of money that the coke dealing does. It doesn't necessitate that Ghost slaughter competitors in cold blood, either. Ghost is nearly ready to get out of the murderous drug-dealer business, but will his many rivals, including terrifying cartel boss Lobos (Enrique Murciano), let him? Meanwhile, Ghost's wife Tasha (Naturi Naughton), who loves top-shelf liquor and shoes that cost as much as Caribbean vacations, wants the flow of big money to keep coming and things never to change for her husband and kids. But with Ghost's old flame Angela Valdes (Lela Loren) suddenly back on the scene, she may not get her wish.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Complex, serious, and gritty, Power races through plot points without neglecting characterization, which makes this series the kind of potent, addictive, yet decidedly adult pleasure fans of shows such as The Sopranos and Breaking Bad will appreciate. Hardwick, all square jaw and throbbing forehead veins, is a magnetic center to the action, with dilemmas that are easy to understand yet compelling to watch play out. Will he maintain his drug-kingpin status and wind up in the country working on watercolors as his men take the risk? Or is his empire crumbling even as he works to free himself from it? Is Truth the way out? Or is it a sucker's game?

Ghost's love life is equally complicated. He's in love with his adoring, if a bit materialistic wife Tasha, with whom he has a calm and happy home life with his passel of kids. But then a woman from his past shows up, and she's looking great. But she's also a prosecutor trying to get a big drug dealer put away. Who's that big drug dealer? Ghost, of course. It's all a bit soapy, in the thugs-with-guns style exemplified by Tony Soprano. But if you liked that show, you may like this one, too. It's good.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the famous creative forces behind Power, which include The Good Wife's Courtney Kemp Agboh and rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. How does the past work from these folks compare with their work on Power? How are they the same or different?

  • Could Power have been set in a different city? In a different historical period? In another country? Why, or why not?

  • Is Ghost St. Patrick rich? How do you know? How does this show let us know the relative wealth of each character?

TV details

Premiere date:June 7, 2014
Cast:Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, Victor Garber, Sonya Walger
Network:Starz
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-MA

This review of Power was written by

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