A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This is a historical tale about royal politics. It involves deception, betrayal, treason, affairs, and all sorts of nefarious plotting from the top down.
Positive Role Models
Virtually every character in the show is driven by ambition, greed, or some other selfish goal. There's no end to characters' plotting and deception. Even those who are convinced they're acting for the right reasons usually have two or three agendas at any given time. Women are largely background characters.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody scenes, including plenty of murders. Pools of blood are seen in places like the jousting court as well. Women are sometimes hit/beaten.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Explicit. Sex scenes are full-blown, with both partial and full nudity. Some same-sex kissing/sexual relationships between men.
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Some profanity (unbleeped), like "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Plenty of wine drinking, with occasional drunkeness.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this pay-cable series has plenty of graphic sex and violence. Some of the sex is particularly explicit and only barely hides actual penetration. For example, one scene shows a young man thrusting vigorously into a young woman from behind when her father bursts into the room (he later hits her across the face, bloodying her nose). Several scenes show topless women and views of naked men from behind. There are also violent scenes of murder, and men are wounded in fights and athletic events. The plot revolves around complicated political intrigue and is neck-deep in deception, treason, affairs, and bargaining with people's lives. Women are largely background figures.
Is It Any Good?
Though the fact that it airs on a pay-cable channel allows The Tudors to be extraordinarily sexy and violent, the approach to the plot feels like something we've seen before, perhaps on public television or a mainstream period film. Unlike Rome -- in whose footsteps The Tudors is clearly following -- the series looks at the politics of the day from the top down, which is a perspective many viewers are already familiar with. The handmaiden the king impregnates is silenced; the children hardly speak; and the folks who tend to drive the action are the king and his closest advisors. Altogether the series is good enough and may eventually develop into something more than the sum of its parts, but viewers might not feel as passionately about The Tudors as its characters do about sex, violence, and politics.
The cast is marvelously peppered with character actors -- like Sam Neill as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey and James Frain as Thomas Cromwell -- and, overall, the acting is good (if a bit exaggeratedly Shakespearian at times). That said, the problem with seeing so many familiar faces is that it can be distracting to recall where you've seen them before.
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.