South of Nowhere

Common Sense Media says

An eye-opening portrayal; OK for mature teens.





What parents need to know

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."

Not applicable

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
Not applicable

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.

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Kids say

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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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:Gabrielle Christian, Maeve Quinlan, Mandy Musgrave
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of South of Nowhere was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byspashleylover4eva March 29, 2009

i love this show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

i think its wrong 4 them to have canceled s.o.n its super duper stinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Parent of a 9, 13, and 17 year old Written byPie Mama July 27, 2010

It's O.K.

It's O.K., but I don't like the fact that the mother is now completely fine that her teenage girl is gay, however, it is entertaining to watch.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
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 then themselves.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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