The Head

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
The Head TV Poster Image
Blood, booze, profanity in classic horror-inspired mystery.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The Head is about living and working closely with other people. It's about respecting differences and resolving conflicts in a productive manner, though it shows many examples of failed attempts to do so.

Positive Role Models

The Head features an international cast of characters who are clever, brave, resourceful, and hopeful.

Violence

A series of mysterious deaths is at the center of The Head, but like a horror movie, the show tends to get more mileage out of what isn't shown than what is. Violence includes fist fights, gunplay, explosions, and a beheading, among other things.

Sex

Two of the main characters are husband and wife, and there's a recurring flashback to a sex scene between them. It shows simulated sex from the shoulders up.

Language

Profanity is used throughout and includes "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "hell," etc.

Consumerism

Based on an iconic horror film of the 1980s, which had been previously adapted in 2011.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol plays a major role in The Head, as characters drink to excess to cope with the traumatic and extreme events that occur. No smoking or drug use are shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Head is a suspense/horror series about a team of researchers on an isolated base during the Antarctic winter. When most of the team is discovered dead or missing, the remaining members struggle to find out what happened to them. The Head contains violence, including gun violence, explosions, and a beheading, but most of the suspense comes from what the audience doesn't see. The storytelling creates a feeling of tension and dread among the team, so there's a sense that violence could erupt at any time. The show features some sexual content, including a recurring scene where simulated sex is shown between a married couple, but only above the shoulders. Profanity is used throughout and includes "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," "hell," etc. The Head is directly inspired by the unsettling 1982 horror film The Thing, and could be fun viewing for fans of that film.

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What's the story?

THE HEAD opens with the crew of the Polaris VI Antarctic research station throwing a huge party the night before winter begins. The next day, most of the staff flies away while 10 crew members stay behind to man the station through the six months of freezing dark. But when the rest of the staff shows back up at the end of winter, they find that most of the 10 who stayed behind are dead or missing. Led by Johan, whose wife is among the missing, and the rookie Maggie -- the one known survivor of the winter -- the remaining staff set out to find out exactly what happened... before it's too late.

Is it any good?

Many people, when they find out a story is set at an Antarctic research station, will immediately think of John Carpenter's The Thing, in which a team of researchers are attacked by a shapeshifting alien being that picks them off one by one. The Head wastes no time in admitting to being inspired by Carpenter's film -- the inhabitants of Polaris VI ritualistically watch it on the first night of their long winter.

But The Head isn't just some self-referential Scream-like series for Carpenter fans. It cleverly uses the audience's presumed familiarity with its iconic predecessor to create a deeper sense of mystery once things inevitably go sideways at Polaris VI. Part of the fun of The Head is trying to figure out if it's a pure locked-room mystery or if something supernatural is going on, and it even has the episodic advantage of getting to dig into the characters' relationships and backstories. Using such iconic source material for inspiration could be either brave or misguided, but The Head smartly realizes that any premise as good as this one doesn't need to be confined to one story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Antarctic. What unique challenges does living in that climate present? How does the staff of Polaris VI deal with them? What protocols help the team in their day-to-day lives?

  • What's it like living in close quarters with other people? How do the 10 people on the Polaris VI relate to one another? What challenges does isolation present? How do they cope with those challenges?

  • What do you think happened on the Polaris VI? What are the clues to the mystery? What do you think the show wants you to think? Why?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysteries

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