A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Themes explore racism, social class, and the mechanics of local politics with a tone that's more realistic (read: pessimistic) than hopeful. But there's an attempt to show that people are just that -- people.
Positive Role Models
"Heroes" and "villains" don't exist here in broad terms, though some characters lean more heavily on those labels than others. The focus is on the mayor's struggle between obeying the law and obeying his conscience, but a diverse range of other viewpoints are considered.
Violence & Scariness
Verbal sparring, rioting, and violent protesting; some characters carry weapons and/or are threatened with physical harm.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, sexual tension.
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Frequent, unbleeped usage of words such as "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and "piss."
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Products & Purchases
Some brand names are mentioned (Maalox, Stoli).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, cigarette smoking. Some scenes take place in bars.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Show Me a Hero is a miniseries that deals with weighty adult issues such as racism, class, and poverty in a serious and sobering way that reflects the series' true-story origins. Characters regularly use unbleeped language such as "f--k" and "s--t" and get into spirited arguments that spark violent protests. You'll also see light sexual tension and kissing, along with social drinking and cigarette smoking.
Is It Any Good?
With strong acting and effective writing, Show Me a Hero is well-made and watchable, a period piece that's timelier than you'd expect. But the fact that it centers on such a specific time and place -- 1980s Yonkers, New York -- and lacks the splash of a name-brand "star" makes it a tough sell for the average viewer who's drawn to more obvious excitement. And that's just speaking for the adults; older teens are even less likely to take interest, though they'd certainly learn something about our country's persistent struggle with class and race.
So why should you watch a six-part miniseries about a little-known historical event that, on the surface, doesn't sound all that interesting? For one thing, it bears the stamp of David Simon (The Wire) and Paul Haggis (Crash), who know a little something about building on-screen tension. For another, it boasts award-worthy performances from a nearly unrecognizable Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Catherine Keener that make you care more about the politics of urban housing than you ever thought possible.
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.