A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series examines different cultural practices around the world. It challenges people's perceptions of what "normal" means. People from various racial, ethnic, and other groups from all over the globe are featured (including some who are transgendered).
Violence & Scariness
Some of the rituals shown appear violent by traditional Western standards, including beating young men as a rite of passage into adulthood, hanging people by the skin with hooks, and mutilating young girls' breasts.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some episodes discuss sexuality (including sexual maturity and transgender issues) and courting practices. But these discussions are within the context of understanding a specific culture or ritual and aren't salacious in nature. One episode shows young girls' breasts being mutilated to prevent promiscuity.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional drinking and smoking visible in the background, but it's not central to the show.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that many of the unique cultural traditions examined in this documentary series -- including gender transformation, painful and often life-threatening initiation rituals, and physical mutilation -- will seem bizarre or extreme from a mainstream American point of view. Since the topics are approached from a thoughtful, educational perspective, mature teens should be able to handle the show, but its graphic imagery and complex subject matter could upset or disturb younger or more sensitive kids.
Is It Any Good?
Taboo doesn't attempt to change people's minds about what's "right" or what makes something an acceptable social practice. Instead, the series focuses on exposing viewers to people and practices that they might never see otherwise.
While the series is quite educational, the seemingly bizarre and sometimes-grotesque imagery can create a carnival-like quality that's more entertaining than informative. But the shocking nature of the show's visual images also pushes viewers out of their comfort zone -- they're instrumental in challenging people to open their minds and consider the fact that every cultural group has their own definition of what's "normal."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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