A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
You never know what someone is going through. By helping others, you can help yourself. Acts of kindness can create change and strengthen communities.
Positive Role Models
Ruby O'Reilley has a special power that allows her to be a more empathetic townsperson. Despite dealing with personal tragedy, she uses her experience as motivation to help others.
Some limited racial diversity among side characters and townspeople. A Black woman is characterized as a single mother dealing with family issues -- later she is seen as a successful careerwoman.
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Violence & Scariness
A character is led to believe their house is haunted. After hearing a strange noise in the house, they investigate, only to find it is a family friend hiding in the attic. A character who can see other people's memories glimpses a flashback of a woman crying at the scene of a car accident -- no blood or injuries are shown. Multiple characters have dealt with the loss of a family member, and characters visit a graveyard. Occasional verbal arguments occur between characters.
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Some name-calling and negative character descriptions. An adult gets frustrated with two kids and calls them both "stubborn." The adult immediately apologizes, but one of the kids is still upset and says that they are a "good kid" and not a "mean kid" or "bad kid." Ruby's great uncle is called Old Tom, and is frequently described unkindly by being "cursed" or as "rampaging."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ruby and the Well is a fantasy adventure series about a teenager who uses a magical well to help her community. Each episode follows a different person that Ruby helps with her visions. The story promotes important messages about kindness and compassion. Death and grief are themes; Ruby has lost her mother, and she helps a townsperson after getting visions of a gravestone and a car accident. While Ruby is a positive role model, the series has limited racial diversity. For younger viewers, it incorporates valuable social-emotional lessons.
Is It Any Good?
This series about an enchanted well may be well intentioned, but its execution leaves the viewer wishing for more. With each episode clocking in at around 45 minutes, the runtime of Ruby and the Well creates inconsistent pacing at the expense of the story. The problems Ruby is tasked to fix either feel too complex or over simplified. A library closes because people "just started caring more about themselves," and a teenage runaway's backstory feels incomplete and more like a sprint to the finish. The show succeeds when it focuses on Ruby's personal growth. She uses the loss of her mother to change her grief into good. Her empathy toward others is admirable, and creates a heart at the center of the story.
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.