A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Show emphasizes using problem-solving skills and curiosity; some positive social-emotional lessons.
Positive themes around being a good friend and teammate, being kind, wanting to do what's right.
Positive Role Models
The kids make good choices and try to do what's right even when it's scary. Constance has a terrible attitude and is mean, but she gets called out, and her behavior is labeled as wrong. Diverse cast.
Violence & Scariness
Moderate violence and scariness. Some scenes of fantasy violence, where nothing is gory, and there are no guns/knives present. Some pushing/shoving between kids in arguments, as well as some verbal hostility. Several scenes are suspenseful, and overall plot has a dark overtone. It doesn't seem like the kids are about to meet their demise in any given moment, but the threat is always there. The kids are all orphans, which the plot touches on explicitly.
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No cursing but a fair amount of arguing and put-downs (mostly by the mean character, Constance). Some cursing-adjacent words like "heck."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Mysterious Benedict Society is a smart, funny TV adaptation of the same-named book series about four extraordinary children recruited to help a brilliant recluse. It has enough suspense, scariness, and violence to make it more appropriate for tweens than for younger and more sensitive kids. The plot has a dark overtone, and though it doesn't seem like the kids are about to meet their demise in any given moment, the threat is always there. Scenes of fantasy violence use clever editing to hide most of the actual violence (and there aren't any guns or knives). Kids get in arguments, and there's some pushing and shoving as well as verbal hostility. One of the children, Constance Contraire (Marta Kessler), is often rude and mean, but she's always called out on her behavior. Some viewers may be sensitive to the fact that the kids are all orphans, which the plot touches on explicitly. The series is excellent family viewing for kids who are able to handle the edgier bits, and it has clear themes of courage, curiosity, teamwork, and friendship.
Is It Any Good?
Everything about this series is superb: its acting, its storytelling, its wonderfully immersive dystopian world. Fans of Roald Dahl's Matilda or the Lemony Snicket books will fall in love with this adaptation of the Benedict Society books. Kid viewers will enjoy knowing that children are the only ones capable of saving the day. They'll also likely identify with either Reynie, Kate, or Sticky and love hating the mean Constance. The subtle dry humor sprinkled throughout may be lost on some younger kids, but older kids (and adults) will find it hilarious. Kids will also enjoy trying to solve the puzzles and riddles alongside the genius characters.
The storytelling is super compelling, and grown-ups may wonder why they have a strong desire to binge-watch a show meant for kids. There are great acting performances by the kid and adult actors, especially the scene-stealing Kristen Schaal as Number Two. The sets and costumes are fabulously colorful and Wes Anderson-esque, making the world seem simultaneously both vintage and modern. Grown-ups will genuinely enjoy watching this whimsical and mysterious series along with their kiddos.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.