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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 Reverie is a series about a computer program that allows people to enter virtual reality fantasies. The show is pretty mild content-wise, with "damn" as the only cursing and little sexual content, which makes it a good bet for whole-family viewing. Violence is minimal too, but may be disturbing, particularly for young viewers -- particularly a scene in which a mom and young daughter are shot to death by a disturbed dad. We see no blood or gore, but hear gunshots and see the bodies of the mom and daughter on the ground, and a relative grieving at length. Said relative also refers to using drink and (prescription?) drugs to cope, but ceremoniously dumps all the booze and pills. This show's cast is racially and ethnically diverse, and women have strong roles with agency.
What's the story?
In the virtual reality world known as REVERIE, people can live any life they please. But something's gone wrong: The dream life is too good, and now people are going in and not coming back out. It's up to former hostage negotiator Mara Kint (Sarah Shahi) to use the Reverie system to enter into their fantasies and help them find a way out. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense has an interest in Reverie too, and in its brilliant inventor, Alexis Barrett (Jessica Lu). Is Reverie a way out for people with problems? Or a dangerous way into the conscious mind?
Is it any good?
It's full of wonky tech and the plot setup is pretty clichéd, but viewers who long for waking wish-fulfillment dreams may be snared by this drama despite all that. In real life, dead people stay dead, everyday life is humdrum, and there aren't enough job openings for aspiring movie stars and sports legends. But in Reverie's VR-enabled flights of fantasy, anything can happen, which lends this often kinda silly show a certain imaginative appeal that recalls Inception.
Reverie also smartly sets up a procedural format that could chug along for a good long time. Shahi's Mara must enter the virtual worlds of those unwilling or unable to exit the program; there can always be another lagger, just the same way there could always be another dead person with a backstory on Six Feet Under or another quirky criminal case on Law & Order. So though sci-fi purists may titter at some of the show's fantasy tech and goofy science-speak, those who can suspend their disbelief will find this better-than-average outing lots of fun, as well as clean enough for family viewing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why entering into someone else's dreams or fantasies is a relatively common sci-fi plot. What's appealing about this idea? Why would people want to do this, or why would they not? What would you do if you could go into a virtual world with anyone of your choice?
In TV shows with large casts, it's often difficult to introduce audiences to multiple characters at once. How does Reverie signal what characters we should pay most attention to? How does it tell us who characters are and what roles they will play in this drama?
What do you think about virtual reality? What are its dangers? Its benefits?
For kids who love sci-fi
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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.