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 The Almighty Johnsons is genial and light, not scary and dark, and thus suitable for viewers with parents who don't mind the drinking, smoking, sex, and cursing. The Johnson brothers are mostly young men who carouse and party a lot on-screen. Characters at parties chug beer (with shouted encouragement from friends) and act silly; the gods have trouble controlling their powers while drinking. Characters smoke cigarettes and make joking reference to drugs such as psychedelic mushrooms. There are frequent jokes and references to sex. Some characters engage in frequent no-strings sex with people they meet in passing. Characters are infrequently shown nude from the rear, with buttocks blurred. Violence is cartoonish and sword-and-sorceror-ish, but there are deaths and blood and gore. Apocalyptic images may scare very young viewers.
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What's the story?
To the unstudied eye, THE ALMIGHTY JOHNSONS are just a bunch of regular guys. Goofball Axl (Emmett Skilton), serious married man Mike (Tim Balme), roguish Anders (Dean O'Gorman), and resentful middle kid (Jared Turner) make up a close family unit with their "cousin" Olaf (Ben Barrington). But, as Axl finds out on his 21st birthday, they're no regular family: The brothers, and Olaf (who's really their ageless grandfather), are the reincarnations of Norse gods, with deadly superpowers they can barely control. The Johnsons are in danger, too, from a group of goddesses looking to usurp their powers. If Axl, the reincarnation of Odin, can find and marry the reincarnation of Norse goddess Frigg, their family will survive and their powers will be restored. If not, it's not only the Johnsons who are in trouble -- it's the whole world.
Is it any good?
With its light, charming tone and a reliance on its own cockeyed mythology, The Almighty Johnsons pleasantly recalls favorites from the past such as Buffy and even Xena, Warrior Princess, with which The Almighty Johnsons shares a pleasingly winky sensibility. This is silly stuff, and the characters know it -- and say it, frequently, even as they're hurling lightning bolts and taking magical ceremonial arrows to the heart.
It doesn't hurt that all the Johnson brothers are easy on the eyes and carry with them adorable Kiwi accents that render statements such as "I'll text you" into "I'll tixt you." Aww. With subplots revolving around the quest to find ancient weapons and scuffles with mischievous god Loki, nothing here is to be taken very seriously, and that's just fine. This is the very definition of a guilty pleasure, but it's a potent one nonetheless.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the legends that underpin The Almighty Johnsons. Who were the characters of the Norse pantheon? Which are represented here? Which are left out? Why do you think the showrunners chose these gods to portray?
What shows have you seen that remind you of The Almighty Johnsons? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, The Witches of East End? Any others? How are these shows alike or different from The Almighty Johnsons?
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