The Society

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Society TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Language, violence, substance abuse in dark teen mystery.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 38 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Teens must think quickly, use innovative ideas, work together to survive, though they don't always pull together seamlessly. Courage and teamwork is evident in the way characters evade dangers, come up with helpful plans. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main cast lacks diversity. Though there are characters of color on the fringes, only one person of color is a major character. One character, Sam, generally uses American sign language to talk; other characters include him in the action and sign to him frequently and casually. The gender balance of the cast is good, with both males and females in strong central roles. 

Violence

Violence/menace grows as series proceeds. Expect sudden, unexpected deaths, some with blood but no gore. Deaths can be disturbing, like one in which a main character is shot and killed, or when a girl is bit by a snake and dies, gasping for breath and calling out for her mother. A boy tells a girl that he'd like to rape and murder her in a climactic scene. 

Sex

Romance features heavily and sex is mature: A boy accidentally walks in on a boy-girl pair; the girl is moaning and the boy has his head buried under her skirts. A girl kisses a boy and he admonishes her for surprising him with the kiss. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing and references to sex. 

Language

Cursing and language includes "f--k," "f---ing," "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," "hell," "pee," "t-ts." Language is often said casually but is sometimes leveled as an insult: "F--k you," says one character to another. One boy says to his (gay) brother: "You little f-g." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens use drugs and alcohol casually, as if it's a matter of course, drinking at parties (particularly after parents have disappeared) and  smoking joints at the side of their school. A character uses "I was drunk" as an excuse for saying something thoughtless; a character under stress takes a Xanax from his mother's prescription. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Society is a dark drama about a group of teens who are mysteriously dropped off in what looks like their hometown -- but it's abandoned and seemingly cut off from the rest of the world. Life-and-death stakes underlie this series, and characters do die on-screen, usually suddenly and violently, like when a main character is shot or a girl is bitten by a snake and dies, crying for her mother. Deaths may involve a little blood but no gore, and dead bodies are sometimes shown at length. Sexual content is also mature; expect both same- and opposite-sex kissing and scenes like one in which a boy buries his head underneath a girl's skirt (for implied oral sex) as she moans. Teens drink and use drugs casually; scenes show students sharing a joint close to their school and a boy taking a Xanax that was prescribed to his mom. In other scenes, teens guzzle beer and drink from Solo cups. Language is frequent: "f--k," "f---ed," "bitch," "a--hole," "t-ts," "f-g," and more. The cast lacks ethnic and racial diversity, but a main character is deaf and uses sign language; other characters frequently sign with him. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymarija1m1 May 25, 2019

Way to much sex scenes and violence

Good plot, but this is for 17+ age. To much violence and a large number of sex scenes for kids under 16. It was quite a let down how much of the stories focused... Continue reading
Adult Written byalliecaden July 11, 2019

Overtly Sexual

The storyline is saturated with sexual content and f bombs.
Teen, 17 years old Written byGraceee.L May 19, 2019

I loved it but it’s very mature

There is a lot of language, explicit sexual content and drinking in excess. The most edgy thing for me was the sexual content. It was way more than other shows... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byXoeFilms January 30, 2020

It was disappointing but I had nothing else to watch.

It was terribly scripted, really just all the directing was pretty trash. However I liked there choice of actors, mainly Sean Berdy. Other than that the plot wa... Continue reading

What's the story?

Something strange has happened to the teen cast of THE SOCIETY: A school camping trip went awry, but when the buses dropped them off back home, they weren't exactly home. Their town still looks the same, but everyone else is gone: parents, teachers, adults, younger kids. The electricity's still on (but how? and for how long?), and there's still food to eat (until it runs out), but there's no Wi-Fi, no cable, no 911. The kids of West Ham are on their own. What comes next? 

Is it any good?

With its intriguing premise and better-than-usual cast of young actors, at its best this show is a teen Lost -- but it lacks that show's brisk plotting and quirky characterizations. Instead, The Society moves more slowly, particularly in early episodes, where it seems to take the characters forever to grasp the predicament they're in and start drifting toward a meaty conflict. That conflict eventually arrives, with the town's 200+ teens coalescing into basically two forces: an orderly democracy led by former West Ham student body president Cassandra (Rachel Keller), and a group who advocates an everyone-for-themselves policy, led by Harry (Alex Fitzalan). 

A good Lord of the Flies clash is always welcome, and this show obliges. The plot picks up pace as the season moves on, and viewers should be warned not to get overly attached to any one character, because they won't all make it. But with such a large cast given glancing characterizations, it can be hard to tell who's betraying who, and why. A more diverse cast would help -- there are multiple handsome floppy-haired male cast members, as well as several seemingly interchangeable female blondes -- as would more time concentrating on just a few main characters. As it is, audiences may get the sense that the show is just setting up a deep bench of warm bodies to be cannon fodder later, which lowers the stakes considerably. In short, this show isn't the addictive pleasure Lost is, but it's a decent enough binge for a stay-at-home weekend. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Society's plot and which parts are actually plausible. Where do you believe the teens of West Ham to be? Is their abandonment realistic? What about what happens when they're left on their own? 

  • Who are the series' most positive role models? Can a character have flaws and still be heroic? How do earth-shattering events in real life create opportunities for ordinary people to perform extraordinary acts of heroism?

  • How do the characters on The Society demonstrate courage and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

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