South of Nowhere

TV review by
Jill Murphy, Common Sense Media
South of Nowhere TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
An eye-opening portrayal; OK for mature teens.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Strong cast diversity and some good messages about self-esteem (a girl tells her date that she's working on being the woman of her own dreams, not his); on the other hand, one character emails a nude, doctored picture of her "enemy" to the entire student body and is publicly humiliated in retaliation, the characters do a lot of IMing/text messaging, and a teen boy looks at porn on the computer while "doing his homework."


One character films her friends' stories about their "first time" one main character is a lesbian (whose relationship with her "straight" best friend is fraught with sexual tension); plenty of sexual innuendoes ("glad we don't shoot the same DNA," "[that shirt] says that you're happy not getting any," etc.); sexualized teen girls wear tiny skirts and shorts and cropped shirts.


Some language, including "ass" and "bitch."


Teens are attached to their cell phones; while the show is running, other N shows and web sites are promoted on-screen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this edgy teen drama series openly discusses a range of complex topics, including sex, sexual orientation, adoption, loss of virginity, dating, and cyberbullying. Characters use mature language, and both dialogue and characters are sexually charged.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byfarrin June 4, 2010
all teens should watch south of nowhere because it helps them see that it is ok to be different in anyway. and should be nice to them even if they are different... Continue reading
Adult Written byAshLover10 May 27, 2010
THE BEST SHOW EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Teen, 14 years old Written byReviews.for.people September 14, 2015

Great For Pre-teens!

As a kid, I watched Nickelodeon and Disney A LOT. These channels were my two favorites. I remember seeing little tid-bits of this show, South of Nowhere. I didn... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymryellowplaid May 20, 2010

If you can handle all this emotion, watch your heart out.

Spashley<3 I bawled like a baby when Clay died. This series will make you cry. No doubt about it.

What's the story?

At the heart of SOUTH OF NOWHERE is the Carlin family: teenage Spencer (Gabrielle Christian); her older brother, Glen (Chris Hunter); their adopted brother, Clay (Danso Gordon); and their parents, Arthur and Paula (Rob Moran and Maeve Quinlan). Like Beverly Hills, 90210's Walsh clan before them, the Carlins relocated from the Midwest to Los Angeles, only to discover that they were unprepared for their diverse, eclectic new community. Glen -- a jock and a stud with the ladies -- dates the highly sexualized head cheerleader, Madison (Valery Ortiz). Spencer has found a best friend in Ashley (Mandy Musgrave), who has come out as a lesbian. The sexual tension between Ashley and Spencer is on a constant incline, despite Ashley's purported straightness. Clay faces a separate, unique set of challenges -- convincing people that he's truly content being an adopted African-American in a white family ... and a virgin, to boot. Aiden (Matt Cohen), Ashley's ex-boyfriend and the school basketball star, and Sean (Austen Parros), the smart kid with all the potential who often runs with a bad crowd, round out the cast.

Is it any good?

Though reflective of modern teen issues (dealing with friendships, discovering sexual orientation, dating, having sex, maintaining a reputation), South of Nowhere is a little indulgent in its sexual connotations and sexually charged characters and behaviors -- at least from an adult's perspective. But it's likely accurate. Parents could benefit from watching a program like this, with or without their teens. It offers a quick lesson in the importance teens put on privacy, IMing, texting, having sex, fitting in, coping with first crushes, and dealing with stereotypes, cliques, and friendships. Each character seems to embrace more than a few typical stereotypes, perhaps to ensure that all viewers will have someone or something to relate to. Thanks to good writing and strong performances, it's actually a successful recipe.

Overall, the series is a nice blend of modern teen life for mature teen viewers and the traditional dating and high school behavior adults might better relate to. And while South of Nowhere certainly isn't lacking in overtly flirty glances, occasional zoom shots of body language, ultra-short skirts, and super-low necklines, it actually lands on the map somewhere between the raciness of The O.C. and the edgy grittiness of Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's reality level. Do its scenarios and characters reflect real teens' everyday life? What ideas about style, sex, dating, and friendship do teens get from this program? Have any kids at their school come out? If so, how are they accepted and treated? Another interesting topic might be adoption. How do you think Clay feels? What would it be like to be a minority in your own family?

TV details

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