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 Secrets of Sulphur Springs is a mystery/horror series about the disappearance of a young girl and her subsequent haunting of a hotel. Scares are mild, and supposed evidence of a haunting includes finicky electricity in a house, cold spots, doors opening and closing on their own, and objects falling without obvious cause. The young characters are visibly rattled by the experience. The fact that both adults and kids keep secrets is necessary to advance the plot but does leave them weighing the repercussions of doing so, which gives families an opening for talking about issues like honesty and forgiveness. This gripping series invites family viewing with content that scares just enough but not too much -- but, even so, parents should gauge its suitability for kids who are sensitive to spooky stuff.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SECRETS OF SULPHUR SPRINGS, 12-year-old Griffin Campbell (Preston Oliver) laments his family’s abrupt move from Chicago to a small Louisiana town to renovate and reopen a dilapidated hotel called The Tremont. Rumored by locals to be haunted by a girl named Savannah (Elle Graham) who disappeared 30 years ago, the property certainly has its issues, but Griffin’s father, Ben (Josh Braaten), is determined to make a go of getting it back up and running. Things take a mysterious turn when Griffin and his new friend, Harper (Kyliegh Curra), discover a portal that lets them travel back in time and gives them the chance to unravel the mystery. But the secrets they learn along the way have them questioning even more than the unresolved question of what happened to Savannah all those years ago.
Is it any good?
This family-friendly mystery series is expertly written to balance genuine scares with content that’s both humorous and heartwarming. Griffin’s friendship with Harper is instantly likable; her gregarious personality helps bring the new kid in town out of his shell and facilitates their discoveries, and he reins in her impulsiveness that could spell trouble as they traipse around the past looking for answers. As they make discoveries that affect their relationships with people in the present, the two wrestle with the moral implications of possibly changing the past (and thus the future) as well. But through it all -- and despite secrets kept by several characters -- Griffin’s family is a model of loyalty to each other.
As for the scares one finds in Secrets of Sulphur Springs, they’re there and they’re real, but they don’t push the envelope so much that kids shouldn’t watch. The idea that Savannah’s disappearance was so absolute that the trail is cold three decades later hints at even more complex secrets held by sympathetic characters, and as viewers get to know them, that concept could raise questions. Ultimately this is a real know-your-kid scenario. If the kinds of scares conceivable in the real world (a girl’s disappearance, for instance) are worrisome to your kids, it’s worth previewing the show before giving the all clear.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the secrets that characters keep in this story. Are they preferable to telling the truth in any case? In your experience, are some lies justified in certain circumstances? Why or why not?
What examples of loyalty and determination do you see in these characters? Are these always positive qualities in real life? Do they ever mislead the characters rather than inspire them?
What do you think about the scares in this series? Do any of them give you pause? How well does the show create suspense? Does it leave you wanting more at the end of an episode?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love spooky stuff
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