A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Family first is the main positive message, but the methods by which family members protect each other are bloody and violent.
Positive Role Models
The members of the Sun family are intelligent and care for each other, but they're deeply involved in violence and crime. Bruce Sun is perhaps the closest thing to a role model; he wants to be an actor, not a gangster, but even he resorts to violence when needed.
The cast is almost entirely East Asian and multilingual; they speak mainly in Mandarin Chinese and English to each other. Co-creator Byron Wu, directors Kevin Tancharoen and Viet Nguyen, and most of the writers' room are also of Asian descent. The Sun family has roots in Taiwan but has assimilated to America; sons Charles and Bruce speak English with no accent, and operate confidently and successfully in business and social circles. Women have strong and central roles, and are as wily and brutal as male characters.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence is frequent and gory: people are stabbed, shot, and choked to death, and there are many fight scenes that end in deaths. Expect to see blood and gore as well as the sudden deaths of faceless henchmen types. In one particularly intense scene, Charles and Bruce get rid of a dead body by chopping it into bits (we see dismembered hands and feet and spouting, pooling blood). A bloody severed head makes frequent appearances as characters carry it around.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters are single and interested; expect dating, kissing, and romantic complications.
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"F--k," "hell," "shit." Some cursing is in Chinese and translated.
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Products & Purchases
An important character eats Buldak ramen in several scenes. Mentions of Huawei phones, Lipton tea. Another main character goes shopping at Costco with tons of brands seen and hoarded (Enfamil formula, Tide, Gain, Kirkland, etc.)
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character sells molly and cocaine; a main character helps out with sales at a club to earn extra money. People smoke cannabis from a bong in one scene. Characters drink; no one acts drunk. Characters smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Brothers Sun is an intense drama with lots of gore and blood; tension in the series is often lightened by comedy. A Chinese American family based in Taiwan and LA has strong characters but they're hardly role models; each is brutally violent when the family is threatened. Expect scenes like one in which a dead body is dismembered; we see spouting, pooling blood and bloody body parts, including a severed head that characters carry around for several episodes. Lots of martial arts battles are shown, as well as stabbings, chokings, and shootings. Drugs play a part in the narrative; a character sells molly and cocaine and we see characters sniffing cocaine, smoking cannabis, smoking cigarettes, and more. Romance is not a major part of this show, but at least one character has a love interest and we can expect kissing, off-screen sex, and romantic complications. Cursing is frequent: "f--k," "s--t." Women have strong roles, including a woman played by an actor in her 60s.
Is It Any Good?
Propulsive and thrilling, this series has the vibe of action-thriller yarns like John Wick, but spreading the mayhem out over a season gives viewers ample time to get to know characters. And The Brothers Sun doesn't skimp on its characterizations: Each member of the Sun family is a fully realized individual, played by strong actors. Michelle Yeoh is, as most viewers will already know, a powerhouse who can play both strong and soft with equal skill, and here she's a tough mama with a complicated past that's spooled out sparingly. Viewers will also quickly grow fond of Sam Song Li as Bruce, the youngest Sun son who has one habit he must keep hidden from his family: He wants to be an actor, and keeps spending his school tuition money on improv classes.
Setting lovable characters in a dangerous crime-filled world is an iffy idea; no one wants to see a character they've grown to appreciate get hurt, and thus its violent moments have an extra zing. Yet The Brothers Sun keeps the violence on the lighter side by injuring/killing mostly faceless henchmen types, many of whom wear actual masks during confrontations. The Sun family keeps coming out on top, so we're free to relax and watch as this show's mysteries are slowly revealed: Who's after the Suns? Why is it so important to protect Mama Sun? And should we be rooting for the Suns at all? Discovering the answer to these questions is fun; just watching the Suns interact with each other is even better.
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