A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Satire about a mythical kingdom's customs may cause viewers to think critically about their own society.
Putting an animated character in a live-action show is a gimmick that undercuts emotions, but this is at heart a show about redemption as Zorn tries to kindle a relationship with his teenage son.
Positive Role Models
Zorn is ultraviolent -- joking about beheadings and eviscerations -- and sexist -- he calls a waitress "food whore!" -- but his foibles are clearly being sent up.
Violence & Scariness
Literal cartoonish violence: Animated characters aim rays at each other, stab each other with swords dripping with purple blood, are beheaded. Zorn stabs a giant bird suddenly in the throat and then punches it repeatedly as it bleeds and cringes. Zorn calls his son a warrior, a bone crusher, a little decimator, gives him a brain gouger as a gift and is disappointed when he solves problems with words rather than swords.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jokes about sex: "Remember when we had that fivesome with the mountain trolls?" Zorn asks his ex. Jokes about anuses, tampons.
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Occasional mild cursing: "Dammit!" "What the hell?" Zorn tells his son he's going to "throw his ass" up in the air. Zorn summons a waitress: "Food whore!"
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Products & Purchases
Zorn salivates over a package of Hot Pockets.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mom refers to being "coked up" in some distant past.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Son of Zorn is a sitcom focused on Zorn, a (cartoon) barbarian of the He-Man variety who's seeking a relationship with his (live-action) teenage son. Much of the humor in the show is derived from Zorn's violent and sexist ways. We see him in animated battles with eviscerations and beheadings, with creatures who are suddenly cut in half by giant swords dripping with purple blood. Zorn also makes jokes about drinking blood and playing sports with decapitated heads and calls a waitress over by calling her "food whore!" His bad behavior is being sent up, but younger viewers may not get this. Expect mild cursing ("What the hell?"), a joke about being "coked up," and references to "fivesomes" with mythical beasts. The show doesn't lack charm, but like some modern animated shows, it's not made for very young viewers.
Is It Any Good?
Putting aside the gimmick of combining live action with animation, this show isn't without its charms, but the conflicts seem aggressively sitcommy. Alan's embarrassed by his dad in front of a girl, Zorn's threatened by having a female boss, a dad just wants to get close to his son: What is this, My Three Sons? Enough jokes land to give viewers a few chuckles -- Edie explains to Zorn that she and new fiancé Craig (a game Tim Meadows, always great to see) know how to have fun: "We have our own avocado tree in the back and make our own guacamole."
But Son of Zorn insists on trying to flog further humor out of tired topics: Zorn's brutality, Edie's scolding-mom act. A scene in which Zorn clubs a giant Death Hawk goes on painfully long, clearly hoping for an Archer sort of naughty zing, but the writing just doesn't have that show's sharpness. What we have here is a fish-out-of-water comedy with familiar and appealing actors who do their best with limited material. It's fine for families with teens, but it may be a tough sell: Today's teens don't even remember the old He-Man cartoons Zorn spoofs.
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.