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 Messengers is a drama about a set of strangers who suddenly realize they have a part to play in a coming apocalypse. Said apocalypse is the biblical Rapture, and plot points revolve around spiritual concepts that include the battle between good and evil, angels, terrifying supernatural events, and the like. This aspect of the show may make it more disturbing to some viewers. There's some pretty graphic violence: point-blank shootings, vicious fistfights with the sound of meaty punches on the soundtrack, and flowing blood. A child is grievously injured in a car accident; we see her gory head wound and mother crying over her in a hospital bed. References to domestic violence. Characters drink beer and wine on-screen; teens at a party drink liquor and beer from bottles. Flirting, kissing; a woman has an affair with her father-in-law and isn't sure who's the father of her baby.
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What's the story?
A strange object streaks across the sky in the first episode of THE MESSENGERS, and in a blinding flash, five strangers have a terrible vision that temporarily strikes them dead. When they return, they find they have inexplicable powers. Mixed-up orphaned teen Peter (Joel Courtney) realizes he has incredible strength in the worst way possible, while abused-mom-on-the run Erin (Sofia Black-D'Elia) is baffled by her newfound ability to heal when she instantly recovers her daughter from a massive car accident. Bewildered double agent Raul (J.D. Pardo) only knows he has to find his way home; preacher man's son Joshua (Jon Fletcher) believes he can see the coming Rapture. Meanwhile, scientist Vera (Shantel VanSanten) is on the trail of just what that mysterious object in the sky could have been -- and she gets an ominous visit from The Man (Diogo Morgado), who knows more than he should about Vera's missing son. How are these strangers connected? Why do they have angel's wings in their reflections? And will humanity survive what's coming?
Is it any good?
Anyone who's read the biblical passages pertaining to the Christian Rapture (or, even more indelibly, sat quaking in a church pew as a minister thundered the story to a congregation) knows it's a terrifying tale, whether one believes it's actually going to happen or not. War, famine, pestilence, death riding in on a pale horse, devils, angels, lakes of fire: This is some scary stuff, and so The Messengers might be particularly terrifying to young children who are being raised in the Christian religion (which could be a good opportunity for a family discussion of beliefs).
That said, apocalypse tales litter the cinematic and television landscape, each attempting to creep out today's living humans by envisioning a possible demise. Does this particular scenario succeed? Largely, it does. Giving the leads of the show special powers -- an event most definitely not spelled out in biblical passages -- lends the proceedings a pleasant superhero-y feel, and the show's creators have a knack for compelling imagery: a signal traveling from an electrical cord right on out into space, knocking out a satellite; a deployed air bag with splashes of blood on it. Fans of apocalypse tales will want to watch on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about other dramas built around an apocalypse. What others can you name? What type of apocalypse takes place in each one? How is The Messengers alike or different from these other dramas? Why are "end of the world" scenarios so compelling to us?
Is The Messengers scary to you? Why, or why not? Do you think it's intended to be scary? What makes it more frightening to some?
For kids who love spooky drama
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