A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
There's no easy message/take-away here. The show offers a complex look at issues related to family relationships and life inside the mob. Little of what occurs is clearly black-and-white; there are always shades of gray. Characters value their families, but they also coldy commit murder.
Positive Role Models
The main characters are all career criminals. Breaking the law is the norm, and law enforcement characters are portrayed unsympathetically. That said, the main character does value his family and also sees a therapist to cope with panic attacks and other issues.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is common and graphic. Some scenes are quite explicit; the matter-of-fact way these wiseguys go about their business makes the beatings and killings seem even more chilling.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Almost every episode features scenes with sex and nudity.
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The mafia characters' language is incredibly foul. Sometimes it seems like every other word in a sentence would be banned on commercial television.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the main characters is fighting a heroin habit, and some scenes clearly show him using. Most characters drink, ranging from wine with a meal to unpleasant benders, which often lead to violence. Some underage drinking as well.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this Emmy-winning adult mob drama is both realistic and violent. The edgy HBO series makes murder and assault just part of the landscape and makes heroes out of criminals. Some beatings are hard to watch, and the petty infighting between these mid-level wiseguys is anything but honorable. Older teens may well have heard of the show, but it's definitely meant for adults. (Note: The edited episodes running on basic cable do away with much of the swearing and nudity.)
Is It Any Good?
THE SOPRANOS is amazingly violent, yet the savage beatings and offhand killings seem like just another day at the office for these brutal career criminals. The viewer is quickly sucked into their schemes and roots for them to pull off every job. But this series is less about big heists than it is about the petty jealousies and personal conflicts within every family, whether they're linked by blood or by an oath of loyalty.
The extensive supporting cast of hoodlums and family members (many people are both in this business) is both colorful and strong, providing endless demands on Tony's time, which further takes him away from his real family. This is a series that repeatedly questions the meaning of duty and the power of loyalty. Both are thought-provoking matters that could be interesting for older teens, but The Sopranos isn't a show that kids should watch lightly, no matter how mature they seem.
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.