A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Following a girl through her recovery process sends a realistic message that people do have the ability to change if they're motivated enough. Characters are depicted as dealing with the consequences of their actions. Themes include integrity, self-control, courage, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Main character Maddie is realistically cranky and resistant to change but finds herself improving as a person over the course of the series. A group of disparate characters bonds over their desire to live better lives.
Violence & Scariness
A girl has dreams of her deceased father returning to talk to her; his fatal head injury is gory and partially visible.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters are single and interested; expect flirting, dating, kissing. A character refers to being a "virgin by choice."
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Cursing: "hell," "ass." Vulgar language: "You really got screwed." Drug-testing references: "I need you to pee in this cup."
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Products & Purchases
Based on a book audience may want to read after watching.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An underage character drinks shots and from a liquor bottle on-screen; the next morning she awakens in a strange place feeling sick. Vodka is found in a high school girl's locker and lands her in trouble at school. Maddie smokes cigarettes and a joint on-screen and is seen snorting cocaine and taking pills.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Recovery Road is a drama about Maddie, a high schooler who is sent to a sober-living facility with a group of other young adults. This underage character drinks shots and from a liquor bottle, smokes cigarettes, snorts cocaine, and smokes marijuana on-screen before landing in rehab. There are minor references to sex: The main character is a "virgin by choice." A girl has dreams of her father, who died in a car accident; his injuries are visible in the dreams. Cursing ("ass," "hell") and vulgar expressions ("you got screwed") are infrequent. Characters relate personal problems such as losing custody of their kids through drug abuse; some characters relapse and are seen on-screen high and/or drunk. Family is present and caring; the sober facility Maddie inhabits is supportive and helpful, with effective leadership.
Is It Any Good?
Teen-alcoholic redemption tales were 1970s-afterschool-special staples, but this wise, realistic drama is too smart to try to wrap up its main character's issues in a two-hour-with-commercials movie. Maddie is a wonderfully complex character -- by turns snotty and sweet, with a veneer of irony and detachment only thinly masking the pain underneath. As the audience slowly gets to know her and the other residents of Springtime Meadows, we begin to understand the mistakes they made (sometimes repeatedly) to land themselves there, as well as the problems that are holding them back. Maddie soon understands that even if she and the other residents have very different experiences and backgrounds, they share similar pains. As they pull together to repair their shattered lives, Maddie finds that there are other ways of dealing with loss and pain than drowning them in chemicals, and even if she or her loved ones make mistakes, there is a community waiting to support her. Recovery Road is a very human drama that's terrific whole-family fare, particularly for families with members who struggle with substance abuse.
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.