Parents' Guide to

The Greatest American Hero

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

'80s series is more comedy than drama but has heart, too.

TV ABC Comedy 1981
The Greatest American Hero Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+


Humor bad plot ok show ehh tons of drugs

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO is billed as a drama/comedy series, a dual identity that likely was closer to reality in the early '80s than it is now compared to significantly darker modern TV dramas. It's difficult to take any of the show's dramatic content at face seriously given the overall lightness of the mood (and of the violence), especially when Ralph sports his comic book-style caped body suit. Happily, though, the show doesn't even take itself too seriously, working in a lot of self-deprecating chuckles at the expense of the characters' personalities and, especially in the early stages, Ralph's ill-fated attempts to control his new powers. What's more, it boasts one of the best and most celebrated theme songs in TV history.

The flipside of The Greatest American Hero's age-related comically bad stunts and special effects is the care it gives to developing quality characters. Much of Ralph's charm stems from the fact that he's a hero out of his suit as well as in it, a teacher who goes out of his way to inspire troubled students, and someone who drops everything to help a friend in need. Likewise, Pam is far more than just a pretty face; she's a whip-smart attorney who represents a new (at that time) generation of independent women, deliberately contrasting other females in many of the stories. Given its relatively mild content and the intriguing characters at its heart, this series is a fun escape from today's heavier dramas and can be fun for families to watch together.

TV Details

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