Taken

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Taken TV Poster Image
Death, guns, and constant mayhem in prequel to film series.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Taken has a somewhat cockeyed view of morality -- it's OK that Mills kills other humans, because those are the bad guys and he's the good guy. The end justifies the means, this show implies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters have complicated motives, and those in charge cannot always be trusted; sometimes they, too, are willing to hurt people to gain their ends. Bryan Mills is brave and intrepid, but he often shoots first and asks questions later. Christina Hart is a strong woman in a position of power, but she ruthlessly risks the lives of others to identify and kill terrorists. 

Violence

People are killed on-screen -- they're usually anonymous henchmen types, but sometimes they're characters we've come to know or loved ones of main characters. Bryan Mills lives a dangerous life: People are shot in a spatter of blood and flesh; shadowy operatives try to force poison down his throat to murder him; he keeps guns at the ready to defend himself against villainous agents. Expect lots of mayhem and violence: gunfights, car chases, helicopters, on-screen deaths, and lingering shots of gory wounds. A man is hung up by his wrists in a scene that is interrupted just before it turns into torture with knives. 

Sex
Language

"Bastards," "hell," "jeez," "numb nuts," and a man is called a "bitch," implying he's weak.

Consumerism

This show is supposed to be a prequel for the (ultraviolent) movie series Taken; teens may want to watch the movies after watching this. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drugs are mentioned in a crime context: A foreign cartel is smuggling drugs into the U.S. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Taken is a tense series that serves as a prequel to the action-movie franchise of the same name. Just as in the movie series, Bryan Mills is a CIA operative who lives a dangerous life. Expect near-constant mayhem and violence: gunfights, car chases, helicopters, on-screen deaths, and lingering shots of gory wounds. Villains and heroes alike have high-tech guns, laser sights, silencers, and night-vision goggles. People are shot, stabbed, hit by cars, and hung up by their wrists beside trays of torture instruments. Violence is frequently justified by characters who rationalize killing or hurting others by claiming they're protecting family members, seeking revenge, or fighting terrorism. Mills is in near-constant danger, and his methods are indistinguishable from those of the "bad guys": guns, espionage, trickery. Government officials and those in power cannot be trusted. Villains are frequently coded as "other": Latinos or Europeans. Cursing includes "bastards" and "hell," and a man is called a "bitch," implying he's weak. There's also coarse/insulting language: "jeez," "numbnuts." Drugs are mentioned in passing -- a foreign cartel is smuggling drugs into the United States. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 year old Written byintj4life June 30, 2017
It's good tv show.
Adult Written byJoe D. March 8, 2018

Attack of the butthurt snowflake

Season 1 was focused on Hillary as president. The team actually defended America (that's what Hollywood thinks Democrats do). Season 2 turned entirely soc... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byJosh_Poquette December 20, 2017

A fine movie, but all it is, is fine.

Taken is essentially a movie about the daughter of Liam Neeson's who gets kidnapped while she is on a trip in France. Her father happens to be a very well... Continue reading

What's the story?

From executive producer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), TAKEN is the origin story of counterintelligence agent -- and all-around badass -- Bryan Mills (Clive Standen), the vigilante dad from the Taken film franchise. This younger version of Mills is fresh from several tours in Afghanistan, a stint as a Green Beret, and a shadowy role in an anti-cartel operation that left the son of cartel head Carlos Meija (Romano Orzari) dead -- and Meija, also known as La Carnicero ("The Butcher"), seeking revenge. After an incident that leaves one of Mills' loved ones dead, he's on the run, tailed both by the cartel and by national intelligence operative Christina Hart (Jennifer Beals). She's looking to recruit him. Mills is just hoping to stay alive. 

Is it any good?

Dark, gritty, and jammed full of action, this prequel to the film series has the same tone and setup as the movies you already know (and maybe love). Once more, the story is set into motion by a violent act against one of Mills' female relatives -- in this case, his sister. No, we're not spoiling things -- it happens in the first two minutes of the show. Why waste time, when Taken's obvious aim is to drop Mills into a world of machine guns and double-crossing agents, tough guys in black cars, and helicopters with searchlights? It doesn't take long to sort out the players. Mills and anyone connected to him: good. Cartel or any thick-necked guy in black: bad. If the crackerjack action style of the films is your groove, this will be, too, despite the fact that the demands of network TV tamp down the gore and torture a bit.

The stylistic flourishes Besson sometimes puts into his work aren't here, unfortunately -- everything looks blue-washed and somber, all the people bummed out. But the pacing is brisk, the action inventive, so what if the story is pretty weak? An uncomplicated shoot-'em-up is what fans of the film seem to want, so that's what they get. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes the network TV show Taken different from the PG-13-rated movies? Is the violence less graphic or upsetting? Why, or why not? What impact does seeing this kind of violence have on teens?

  • Just as in the movie franchise Taken, events are set into motion by the endangerment (and, in this case, loss) of a main character's female relative. What do you make of this? 

  • Families also can discuss the ethical and moral lines that characters cross in the movie. Are Bryan's actions justified because he's in danger? 

TV details

For kids who love action

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