Parents' Guide to

Tell Me a Story

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Boundary-pushing sex, violence in fairy tale thriller.

TV CBS Drama 2018
Tell Me a Story Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 13+

Love it!

The first season has received a lot of bad reviews, yet I dont know why. I was hooked the first episode and now all the way up to episode 7 it's still amazing. It has really good character development and kept my interested throughout the episodes. I'm really hoping for a season 3, this show is amazing.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
age 14+

Interesting Premise but Bad Writing

Starts off promising, but by Episode 4, the bad writing sinks it. The connection to fairy tales is very very loose-almost non existent. Handsome men and mostly all naked at some point, but the cheap tricks and connections between the players is sub par.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (3):

Watching what happens when good people do bad things -- and then double-down -- is an intriguing and tricky treat in Kevin Williamson's briskly plotted series. Williamson (Scream) hasn't lost his gift for dialogue and characterization. Though the goings-on are wildly purple, the characters within them feel real, and dimensional. Cattrall is particularly terrific as a grandmother whose bitterness and regret swims to the surface when her troublesome granddaughter moves in, admitting that she's, frankly, not a very good person -- and her granddaughter is a lot like her. And James Wolk, whom Mad Men watchers will instantly recognize as closeted social climber Bob, makes a super-sympathetic grieving husband on a mission (who goes overboard in any number of cinematically awful ways).

Horror can always go in two directions: Either the characters are ciphers or stereotypes, puppets set up to be systematically and sadistically tortured, or they can be realistic people you grow to care about, which makes the subsequent events all the more wrenching. Tell Me a Story is emphatically the latter type, and viewers will feel conflicted watching. On one hand, you're here for the mayhem. On the other, these seem like (mostly) decent people who screw up and do stupid things, and then have really, really bad stuff happen to them. There's a perverse pleasure in watching that, and Williamson knows how to hit that piano key, hard. CBS All Access' decision to spool the show out week by week instead of dropping all the episodes at once is tortuous -- but in a good way. Horror fans will be pleasantly tantalized waiting to see what comes next.

TV Details

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.

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