TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Stakes TV Poster Image
Beautiful moody miniseries is too dark for younger viewers.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Women are shown in central and powerful positions. Friendship and bravery are stressed. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marceline is a brave girl (and, later, woman) who takes on her problems (for example, vampires) directly. 


Characters are killed on-screen, but no blood, no gore. Villains are stylized vampires that look goofy instead of terrifying. Many discussions of death, immortality, dying, graves, and other rather morbid topics make this too scary for younger or sensitive kids. 


No cursing, but obvious curse stand-ins: "I'm not a flipping vampire." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stakes is an eight-part miniseries focusing on Marceline the Vampire Queen, a character from the series Adventure Time. Though the tone is light, the series centers on rather morbid topics such as death, immortality, curses, spirits, and the like. One character frequently discusses a wish to have her life end after centuries; younger viewers may be disturbed by the focus on death. Many (goofy-looking, not scary) vampires are killed on-screen; though there's no blood or gore, scenes take place in a dark and scary forest with a large, shadowy monster. One character in particular (the Vampire King) is shown in a big, menacing form that may scare young kids. An offscreen nuclear war destroys the world the show is set in; characters are abandoned repeatedly by parent-like figures and cry piteously. Overall, the subject matter is too mature for very young kids, but tweens and teens who love Adventure Time will be happy to find out more about Marceline's history.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPizza G. June 14, 2017

Brilliant series explores complex backstories, troubled characters

Like Adventure Time itself, Stakes manages to display breathtaking visuals and ideas while also maintaining a sense of fun and humor. As always, characters and... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bysillysasha123 December 8, 2015

Adventure time Characters + Over the Garden wall movie/chapter book style + remarkable depth = AMAZING!!

Sorry for the long title, but that is exactly what this mini series is. While it may be broken up into parts, each part flows together so smoothly. And there ar... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written by[email protected] June 19, 2016

I think it was the best Adventure Time Season 7 Part-8 Special Ever!!

Even though, it has no cursing with bad language, which is very inappropriate sometimes, but I don't know what Marcy from the episode said, "I'm... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the world and characters of the animated series Adventure Time, eight-part miniseries STAKES centers on Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson) as she struggles with her past and identity. Tired of the eternal life her vampire nature has given her, Marceline attempts to become human again with the help of science and Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch). But the process has an unexpected side effect: The powers she absorbed from her five greatest foes causes them to return to fearsome life. Now with the help of Princess Bubblegum, Finn (Jeremy Shada), and his brother/dog Jake (John DiMaggio), Marceline must slay these "ghosts" from her past to live happily in the present. 

Is it any good?

Visually psychedelic, thematically mature, and filled with arresting characters in unusual situations, this miniseries is something special for tweens and up but too dark for younger kids. On Adventure Time, Marceline was an impish frenemy to Finn and Jake and a minor character good for a few sassy lines -- who knew this tragedy of a life was hidden beneath her cheeky vibe? The eight-part Stakes picks up after the apocalyptic Great Mushroom War, which sets the stage for a series of abandonments that render Marceline a solitary, sad, yet powerful figure.

The five vampires who return after Marceline chooses to become human again are clear metaphors for the sorrows of her past; her fight to lay them to rest is a heroine's quest with powerful allegorical meaning. Though this miniseries is too dark (and a bit depressing, despite the occasional burst of absurdity) for younger viewers, tweens, teens, and even adults will relate to her struggle. This is great family watching (especially for moms and daughters) for animation fans. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Marceline's plight: eternal life that has her abandoned over and over again by mortals. Would you like to live forever? Why, or why not? 

  • What characters from Adventure Time appear in Stakes? Which don't? Why do you think they were chosen to play a role? 

  • Why do you think Stakes is a miniseries instead of a story arc on Adventure Time

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate