Six Degrees

TV review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Six Degrees TV Poster Image
Intriguing ensemble drama for teens and up.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The characters are complex people with some big issues that they're struggling with. A couple teeters on the brink when one's caught posting on a dating Web site, a character struggles with substance abuse (which has led to problems in his relationship with his son), another gets caught up in criminal dealings thanks to a gambling problem. One woman's shady past briefly puts a child in danger.


Mostly fistfights and verbal warfare, but a few more violent scenes (including a gunfight that causes a fatality). One character seems to be caught up in something sinister with the potential for violence.


The show's focus is relationships between people, including sexual ones. Some episodes are sexier than others, but scenes have included naked torsos (women's shown from behind), passionate clinches, characters shown in underwear, and characters lounging in bed (implying that they just had sex). Some characters cheat; casual sex isn't uncommon.


Mild: "Shut up," "hell," "damn," etc.


No labels, but there's a clear sense that some of the characters are haves and others are have-nots.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking and smoking, but nothing too excessive. One character is introduced while she's very drunk (or possibly high), which leads to getting arrested for public exposure; another is a recovering alcoholic, divorced dad.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature drama about the lives of six interconnected New Yorkers may appear fairly benign at first, but some storylines reveal darker undertones. The characters are complicated adults dealing with some tricky issues. One character cheats on his fiancee, for example, while another gets a small taste of life in the criminal underworld when his gambling spirals out of control. Each character has his or her own demons to battle, from substance abuse to coping with grief.

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What's the story?

The serial drama SIX DEGREES (which is executive produced by Lost mastermind J.J. Abrams) focuses on six strangers who cross paths in an intoxicatingly hectic city. Jay Hernandez is Carlos, a public defender with a romantic heart who's immediately taken with Mae (Erika Christensen), a mysterious young woman who may be in a lot of trouble. In the meantime, PR exec Whitney (Bridget Moynihan) struggles over whether or not her soon-to-be husband is cheating on her, while her new friend, a widow named Laura (Hope Davis), tries to re-start her life. Rounding out the core cast are gambling addict/chauffeur Damian (Dorian Missick) and troubled photographer Steven (Campbell Scott), who hasn't taken a good picture in ages.

Is it any good?

With New York as its backdrop, Six Degrees has a perfect set-up for a study of intimacy. The show closely examines the ties that bind and follows the characters as they attempt to put their fragmented lives back together; the result is a distinctly likeable, affable series that could hook fans simply on the strength of its stellar casting. That said, it's difficult to imagine how well the original conceit -- everyone's connected to one another -- will play out over the long term. Also, even in the era of serialized dramas, six lead characters may be a few too many for some viewers to keep track of.

Either way, Six Degrees isn't really for kids. While the show leans more toward Abrams' dramatic side (Felicity, What About Brian) than toward his thrillers (Lost, Alias), its themes and plotlines cover decidedly mature topics -- gambling and substance abuse, cheating, crime, coping with grief, and more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about chance encounters and fate in general. Do people meet by design or by accident? Is there such a thing as fate, or is life just a series of happy (or unhappy) accidents? Can teens think of any "random" coincidences or connections in their own lives that mirror the ones on the show?

TV details

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