TV review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
Summerland TV Poster Image
Mindless (but addictive) surf town drama.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Cereal-box psychology does not make for healthy parenting.


Teeny bathing suits and make-out sessions are bread and butter on this show. Promiscuous behavior by role models, teen sex and other questionable topics abound.


Teens call each other "bitch." Adults make thinly veiled lewd sexual references.


Sponsors for "surf contests" are real brand names, mentioned in obvious ways. Soundtrack for show is advertised after program.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Role models drink in every episode. Surfers drink before surfing. Free beer motivates surfers to compete. Hangovers keep characters in bed all day.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a show about adults, for adults. Talking about sex (and a fair amount of participating in it, too) is part of the show's fabric, as is a lot of casual drinking. Parenting skills are often trite and iffy, and the characters use a lot of borderline-swearing language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfranco415 April 9, 2008

Wow, intriguing

Summerland is the best tv show ever because it shows how you can show passion for your family and friends. Also it shows how moving to a new place can turn into... Continue reading
Adult Written bycutekelsi93 April 9, 2008

It is a really cool show.

This is the kind of show that shows that family is important to live a good life. It shows that you must work things out to be friends with someone, but also sh... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymikee990 April 9, 2008
Teen, 16 years old Written bymc2004 April 9, 2008

Fun teen drama

"Summerland" is entertaining, though at times it seems to be a bland rip-off of "The O.C.". Like in "The O.C.", there is some mil... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the tradition of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place, the California lifestyle has been nipped and tucked to look very seductive in SUMMERLAND. Ava (played by Lori Laughlin, who also helped produce the series) was happily making a name for herself in the fashion design world, frolicking in the sunshine on the beaches of Southern California, when her sister and brother-in-law are killed in a car crash and she's handed three kids to care for. Ava's strong desire to be a good person comes through in this tough situation, but she now finds herself trying to rear children in the middle of a seemingly never-ending beach party.

Is it any good?

Like peering into a tide pool full of outlandish creatures, it's hard to look away from the imaginary world of Summerland -- but this show is perplexing to say the least. Half of the issues going on in the household are inappropriate for the kids who live there, which begs the question -- why bring kids into the mix at all? Of course, this premise is the challenge confronting the adults. But to imply that kids should watch Summerland simply because an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old are playing roles here is ridiculous. This is not family viewing. It is what junk food is to the average American -- you may crave it, but there is no substance whatsoever.

Although there are great waves to catch and an amusing time to be had trying to follow the exploits of the characters, some of the weak moral lessons here can be dangerously trite. Real problems like coping with the death of both parents and adjusting to a new culture are not going to disappear like the tide. And ultimately, even for all of her good intentions, Ava will never be mom to the three kids she inherits. These kids will likely instead adopt the habits put forth by her roommates, who have not quite grown out of the idea that life ain't nothing but a party. In short, be wary of Summerland -- because like the song "Hotel California" says, "you can check out, but you can never leave."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about issues of loss and family relationships. Also, everyone in the show is beautiful and slender -- how hard must it be to keep up appearances? Is it realistic? How does peer pressure factor in? Can Ava and her friends really be "a family" to these orphans? Is life in a beach town really like this?

TV details

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