Spycraft

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Spycraft TV Poster Image
Docuseries offers superficial history of espionage.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Though the series touches on the strategy and efficacy of espionage programs, Spycraft tends to focus on the negative aspects of the stories, like what damage was done, or why people or institutions were vulnerable to corruption. 

Positive Role Models

Takes a historical perspective, focusing on who the spies were, what they did, what motivated them, how they got caught, rather than looking at things from perspective of the subjects or those who caught them. Some appreciation of the spies' ingenuity throughout the series.

Violence

Some episodes of Spycraft focus more on violent acts than others, but murder is often discussed, especially assassinations.

Sex

Some episodes contain more sexual content than others, but sex is frequently spoken about as a way for spies to extract information from targets through blackmail or coercion. Some extreme sexual acts are described. Women in sexual poses or states of undress (mostly underwear with occasional glimpses of nudity) are shown in stock footage.

Language

Mild profanity is used throughout, includes "damn" and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

People are seen smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol throughout the series. Drugs and other illicit substances are mentioned, but drug use is not shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spycraft is a documentary series about spies and espionage. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of spycraft, from recruitment to technology to sabotage. Violent assassination is a frequent topic, as is sex as a method of blackmail or coercion. The series mostly takes a historical perspective, telling stories about who spies are, what they do, what motivates them, and how they get caught.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byCupcakesandrainbows March 4, 2021

Really Good!

I think this is a really good show for people who are into documentaries about ( Unsolved Mysteries, etc. ) It is really good for if you have tweens and teens... Continue reading

What's the story?

SPYCRAFT is a documentary series about the world of espionage. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of being a spy, from the technology they use to how spies are recruited. The series tells stories about spies from recent American history, and features interviews with government officials who interacted with those spies in real time. The show offers a historical perspective on who spies are, what they do, what motivates them, and how they get caught.

Is it any good?

People tend to know more about spies from entertainment than from real life. That's what makes Spycraft's premise so intriguing. Unfortunately, the show feels more like clickbait than a true documentary. It hooks you by promising a look into an unseen world. But rather than give true insight into the world of espionage and the lives of spies, the series simply compiles relatively well-known spy stories from the past 50 years or so of headlines. Other than some interviews with high-level government officials, the show is just basic research, dramatic reenactments, and stock footage. Not much consideration is given to telling the stories in exciting or suspenseful ways, and Dylan Berry's awkward, lifeless narration only makes things worse. Ultimately, despite its thrilling premise, Spycraft doesn't deviate much from the same well-trod territory that most espionage documentaries have taken in the past. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about spycraft. What do you know about spying and espionage? How do the stories from the show compare to what you imagined the life of a spy to be? 

  • How do you think the series feels about the spies it features? Does it like them? Respect them? Why, or why not?

  • What are the most interesting parts of spycraft? After watching the show, do you think spying is exciting? Why, or why not? What do you think motivated the spies that the show talks about?

TV details

  • Premiere date: January 20, 2021
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Educational
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Last updated: February 17, 2021

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