A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Fighting for what's right takes ample amounts of empathy, courage, and perseverance. A willingness to get into "good trouble," as late Congressman John Lewis would say, bends the needle closer to justice.
Positive Role Models
Rebel stops at nothing to help those in need navigate the legal system and win against dirty corporations. Her tenacity, courage, and perseverance keep her fighting for justice. Her empathy energizes her to fight for those being victimized by more powerful people.
Violence & Scariness
Descriptions of domestic violence and stabbing in self-defense. A character has bruises from domestic violence and blood on her shirt. A character tries to outrun police by headbutting the officer. The character then gets punched in the gut and beat up to stop him from escaping. A character burns another character's clothes in retaliation of divorce accusations. Mention of possible suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and a small sex scene -- mostly just showing characters kissing and talking after sex -- are included. Slight sexual humor is laced through the show.
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Swear words and phrases like "pissed off," "bastard," "bitch," and "son of a dick" are used.
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Products & Purchases
Several online outlets are listed, such as Twitter, Buzzfeed, TMZ, and CNN.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character is currently sober from substance abuse and attends a group therapy meeting. Scenes with drinking are included. Mentions of drinking and possible drunkenness.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rebel stars Katey Sagal as a fierce legal advocate who stops at nothing to defend her clients from corrupt corporations. A small number of sexual situations, such as kissing and a scene in bed, are shown, and mentions of sobriety are part of the main plot. Some profanity is used, but nothing too hardcore. Violence, including domestic violence and possible suicide, are referenced.
Is It Any Good?
Rebel is a series designed to be an instant ABC hit in the vein of Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder. With a female lead, personal drama and intrigue, and legal battles, the series is a perfect example of the primetime TV formula. However, while Rebel does entertain, it has such a familiar pattern that if you've watched several of ABC's past hit primetime series, you'll feel as if you've seen Rebel before. Rebel might be trying to capitalize on the "I am woman, hear me roar" feeling of the 2020s, but it also feels rote and surface level. The series is filled with the same tropey aspects of other past "strong woman"-led shows like HawthoRNe, Saving Grace, The Closer, and Major Crimes. Like those shows, the woman in question -- this time being Annie Bello (Katey Sagal) -- is a firecracker who doesn't care about the rules. Of course, Annie's nickname is "Rebel," which is a little too on-the-nose. Also similarly to those aforementioned past series, Rebel has a complicated inner life, suggesting that dominance in her career doesn't always translate to having great familial relationships.
The series is very formulaic, but it also tries to convince viewers that it's cutting-edge and fresh. From Rebel's nickname and her motorcycle club-chic wardrobe to the show's soundtrack, which uses bluesy rock songs sung by brassy women, Rebel tries to force the belief that there's never been a show about a complicated, tough-as-nails woman until now. Yet, the show doesn't have anything new to say. In other words, it takes a surface-level approach to feminism that can feel exclusionary and incomplete, but paints that approach as if it's a deep dive. If you're just interested in being entertained, Rebel is good for that. But go into it knowing that it's just another typical primetime drama that has the air of being edgy without actually challenging viewers.
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.