A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star-Crossed is a teen-geared story of forbidden love set against the backdrop of a tantalizing drama about aliens' rocky assimilation into a suburban community. It's easy to cheer the teens' noble determination to forge a relationship despite pressure to keep them apart, but the show also does a great job of exploring the issue of prejudice from numerous angles that prompt viewers to take a fresh look at race relations in society today. Some confrontations between the two sides turn violent, so expect to see fistfights and the use of guns, which result in fatalities on both sides of the divide. Teen romance yields longing glances and minimal physical contact such as handholding and brief kissing. Many humans call the aliens "Tatties," which is meant as a racial slur.
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What's the story?
Ten years ago, an alien aircraft crashed into a suburban town, sparking a violent battle between humans and the newcomers who were fleeing their dying planet of Atria and for refuge on Earth. In the midst of the conflict, a young Atrian boy fled the violence and briefly befriended a compassionate young human girl, who was devastated when police shot him as he tried to protect her. The government rounded up the surviving Atrians and quarantined them in a camp called the Sector, cutting them off from contact with humans. Now a decade later, seven Atrian teens are enrolled in a public high school to test the waters of assimilation, and their arrival sets off a new round of confrontations between the two sides. Meanwhile, now-grown Emery (Aimee Teegarden) is surprised to discover that one of the Atrians is Roman (Matt Lanter), who miraculously didn't die as she had assumed all those years ago. As their bond deepens, they feel pulled apart by the strain between their people that threatens to sever any progress toward understanding the two sides have made.
Is it any good?
STAR-CROSSED is a decent drama series whose solid message manages the near-impossible task of rivaling the story's forbidden romance arc for top billing. There's no way to avoid getting caught up in Emery and Roman's melodramatic tug-of-war between their feelings for each other and society's pressure to keep them apart, and it is fun to celebrate the small victories of true love along the way. But the show pays just as much attention to exploring the issues of prejudice and tolerance from multiple angles as it does to the lovey-dovey stuff.
What does this mean for your teens? Star-Crossed's content is fairly tame for this age group, save for the violent exchanges that erupt between the two groups of characters. But even that serves a purpose, illustrating how a confrontation can escalate when people take different stances on an issue. This show doesn't set out to be preachy or solve the matter itself, but it does encourage viewers to take a fresh look at the longstanding issue of prejudice, and it will prompt some worthwhile discussions with your teens about where society stands today.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the degree to which this story reflects true events in human history. Where do you see similarities between racial relations through the years and the points the show makes? How much progress have we made toward true tolerance? Do you think that's an attainable goal?
Does this series set out to influence viewers' feelings on the subject of prejudice? Why do you think the Atrian characters were cast to look more human than alien? How does that influence the show's message?
Teens: Why is the subject of forbidden love such a popular one in movies and series aimed at your age group? Is there something inherently romantic about caring for someone you're not supposed to love? What are some of your family's rules about relationships and dating?
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