A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Pointless violence is not what this series is selling, though there's plenty of violence. Instead, there are points being made about hawkish political movements (the one in this show praises the "incredible life-changing healing power of violence! Of killing!"), equality, the long-reaching effects of trauma.
Positive Role Models
Characters are duplicitous, have secrets, can't be trusted. Even good characters, like Miguel, a brother intent on protecting his sister from the Purge, use violence as a means to an end. The cast boasts extensive racial and ethnic diversity, with women and people of color in strong, central roles.
Violence & Scariness
As series is centered around a night when all crime, including murder, is legal, expect unrelenting tension and menace. Characters, including children, are in mortal danger. Over-the-top violent scenes: A woman is chained to the ceiling to be killed as a sacrificial "Purge dessert" (she is freed when captors are knocked out and/or killed), a man is chased and hit by a car, people are shot point-blank by anonymous drivers, a man is dragged behind a moving car, a teen is set upon by people with axes. Most violence is not up-close -- it's shown in silhouette, in the distance, or the camera cuts away just before blow lands; we see blood but no gore. Quasi-religious group glorifies being killed by Purgers, essentially a cult suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing and flirting; a group sex scene with two women and a man (all are nude in bed, kissing, no private parts visible). A couple has sex with rhythmic movements; both are nude, no private parts shown.
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Iffy language and cursing: "goddammit," "damn," "s--t," "balls," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "ass," "bastards," "hell."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Purge is a futuristic horror series (based on a series of films) built around a fictional night during which Americans can legally commit any crime, including murder. Violence is intense and strong: Characters are in mortal danger and can die at any time. Deaths do take place on-screen, but most violence is seen in long shots or in silhouette, with some blood but no gore. Disturbing scenes include a man being dragged behind a car, a teen being killed by people wielding hatchets, a young girl chained to a ceiling, and a group of teens offering themselves up to be murdered in a ceremony with religious overtones. Sexual content is less frequent, but includes a group sex scene with two women and a man (they are all nude in bed, kissing, but private parts are not visible). Cursing includes "goddammit," "damn," "s--t," "a--hole," "bastards," and "hell." Women and people of color have strong, central roles, and the series has more on its mind than pointless violence -- it has some things to say about religion, politics, and class.
Is It Any Good?
This spooky, compelling series proves that a night in which every crime is legal makes a dandy idea for a series -- not just a movie (or four). Some pretty deft storytelling is afoot here, and those who have a taste for darker entertainment will be sucked in by the very first world-building episode. The line between the haves and have nots is stark, particularly on the big night, when the rich hide behind high-tech security systems and the poor behind plywood panels, despite the fact, as an opening news radio voice-over tells us, that Purgers are increasingly targeting such easy-to-break-into homes. And, the series soon reveals, the Purge itself was specifically engineered to get rid of said have nots; it's "the Great Liquidator," in the parlance of one rich creep who has a lot to gain from the 99 percent offing each other.
Meanwhile, several other plotlines keep things boiling on other burners. Just who does Jane want dead enough to risk her own safety, and what's involved in this big-money deal important enough for a Purge Night all-nighter? What's Penelope's motivation for joining a blue-robed cult that sells sacrificial suicide? The twists are slowly doled out, but this show's nicely handled shots of menace and creepy visuals keep things snappy. At one point, a panicked Jane runs into a man sharpening a huge blade in the basement of her building. He smiles and calls out in a friendly way, "Don't worry. It's not for you!" But if you think that makes Jane safe, The Purge has another think coming for you.
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.