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 Strain contains sudden scenes of violence fueled by graphic imagery -- from neck-snapping to head-crushing -- and unbleeped language with words such as "s--t," "dick," and "p---y." Sexual content is light, but there's some partial nudity in the form of buttocks and side views of bare breasts; there's also some smoking and drinking, including a brief reference to a main character's problems with alcohol.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When a commercial plane comes to a deadly quiet standstill at JFK International Airport with more than 200 people on board, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- including Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and his team (Mia Maestro and Sean Astin) -- are some of the first to arrive on the scene. But THE STRAIN that's infected the passengers is unlike anything they've ever seen before.
Is it any good?
This series gets off to an awfully slow start -- and maybe that's by design, considering the startling twists that lie in wait as the series progresses. Sprung from the mind of acclaimed film director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth), The Strain is so startling you might find yourself reluctantly watching through your fingers to see just how scary it gets (and we assure you: It gets pretty scary).
Del Toro's filmmaking influence is readily apparent, and, in spite of some hammy dialogue, there's much to admire in the otherwise artful details. It's also great to see House of Cards' Stoll resurrected on the small screen. But The Strain’s creepy charms won’t appeal to everyone, and the coarse language and violent visuals push it squarely into the realm of mature content.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about infectious diseases, vampires, and the real-life fears that fuel The Strain's fantastical concept. What's the appeal behind shows designed to scare us? Why do we watch -- even when we're watching with our hands over our eyes?
How does The Strain compare to other dramas with supernatural story lines? In what ways does the creator/director's film background influence the show's look and feel?
Do you think The Strain deserves a TV-MA rating? Where's the line when it comes to content that's too scary for kids?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.