The Dead Zone TV Poster Image

The Dead Zone

(i)

 

Psychic fights crime in OK thriller. Teens and up.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main character uses his powers for good, but some characters, including an evangelical reverend, are morally ambigious, and some are downright rotten. One African American character in an otherwise all-white cast.

Violence

Murder, suspenseful situations, shooting, hate crimes -- not every episode includes graphic violence, but some do.

Sex

Kissing; sexual objectification by bad characters. Adults have intimate relationships.

Language

"Son of a bitch" and other lesser cursing.

Consumerism

Some product placement, like Apple computers.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Bad characters sometimes drink.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sci-fi drama based on a Stephen King novel depicts supernatural powers, crime, murder, and conspiracy. Situations can be scary and sometimes involve children at risk. Several characters are shady, including a Christian church leader. Storylines involve intimate adult relationships and sometimes include potentially confusing messages about marriage and sex.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

In psychological thriller THE DEAD ZONE (based on Stephen King's 1979 novel), Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall) wakes from a six-year coma to find that his world has changed: His mother has died, and his wife has remarried, and he's gained the ability to foresee the future by touching people and objects. He uses his newfound powers to fight for good, though he struggles with interpreting his visions and sometimes makes devastating mistakes. The series follows a somber, sensitive Smith as he tangles with politicians, investigates crimes, and tries to piece his life back together.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

The Dead Zone has elements that make it a potential cult hit -- the supernatural, political conspiracy, a mysterious future, and even Smith's tortured soul -- but it also has multiple weaknesses that keep it from being a true success. The one black character (John L. Adams as Bruce Lewis) in the otherwise all-white cast has minimal importance and often just seems along for the ride. And if Smith would lighten up occasionally, it would actually allow viewers to take him more seriously. Watching him manage his visions is an exciting aspect of the show, but Hall overplays the seriousness of his role a bit and tends to hold a stoic expression in almost every scene. Also, his face is consistently lit from an angle, adding both an otherworldly and sort of silly melodramatic effect.

With murder, crime, and conspiracy at the forefront, The Dead Zone isn't for younger folks. Some episodes are more gruesome than others, and some involve children being threatened or killed. Most older teens should be able to handle the material.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about supernatural powers. What would it be like to see the future? What other powers would family members want to have? Would teens be tempted to use their powers for not-so-good reasons? What responsibilities come with having powers like Johnny's?

TV details

Premiere date:June 16, 2002
Cast:Anthony Michael Hall, Chris Bruno, Nicole de Boer
Network:USA
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Dead Zone was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Strong sci-fi mystery OK for older tweens, teens.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
This show is the best! I watch it every sunday! It rocks!!!!
Teen, 13 years old Written byPea789 July 10, 2010

not too bad for teenagers. very interesting

This movie is not very bad at all. It is now my favorite movie because it is very interesting.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old February 21, 2014

Great show!

It is a fantastic show but it should NOT be rated PG. Some sexual things and also underage drinking and smoking by high schoolers and sometimes quite bloody. For instance there is a scene about school shootings in the 4th episode but overall this is my favorite show very exciting. :)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?