TRL (2017)

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
TRL (2017) TV Poster Image
Reboot of popular MTV music show lacks fine-tuning.

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

Positive Messages

Pop culture is fun, colorful, and diverse. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's a diverse hosting team, and music/celeb guests are from all walks of life. 


Occasionally violent lyrics played. 


Lyrics often contain sexual innuendo; sexy dancing, outfits sometimes visible. 


Words like "hell," "damn" audible. Profanity removed from lyrics.


The series is a promotional vehicle for those who appear on it and their music, TV shows, films, etc. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lyrics sometimes refer to drinking, smoking, and drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that TRL (2017) is a reboot of MTV's original TRL series, which highlighted musicians and their videos. However, this one's video-free, focusing on the live show, which contains interviews and performances. Some the featured musicians can be edgy, and lyrics may contain references to violence, drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. They may also contain strong sexual references, and sometimes sexy dancing and outfits are visible, too. Social media platforms like FacebookTwitter, and Instagram are featured throughout, and viewers are encouraged to use them in order to interact with the show. 

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What's the story?

Total Request Live, better known as TRL (2017), is a reboot of the popular MTV series that showcases the top music and pop culture talent of the day. Hosted by DC Young Fly and a rotating team of social media influencers and content creators including Tamara Dhia, Amy Pham, the Dolan Twins, and Liza Koshy, the series features interviews and performances by musical acts ranging from Ed Sheeran and Demi Lovato to DJ Khaled, Migos, and PRETTYMUCH. Special appearances by celebs and other notable folks are also part of the fray. Throughout it all, viewers can add their favorite music to a running music playlist. 

Is it any good?

This frenetic and uneven series tries to appeal to contemporary youth by offering an updated and diverse presentation of the music and pop culture fanfare MTV is known for. Those present at the live show at the Times Square studio or street stage cheer, dance, and get chances to interact with guests. Fans who aren't get to participate using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which feature content before, during, and after the show. 

Like the classic version, which ran from 1998-2008, TRL serves as a promotional vehicle for the artists who make appearances. But thanks to the lack of music videos to count down (which is the reason TRL was created in the first place), there doesn't seem to be anything that binds the show together. It's possible that newer and younger generations of MTV fans may find it appealing, but if you're looking for something that looks and feels like the original, you're not going to find it here. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways TV and online entertainment can be used to promote other things, like music and musicians. How does this work?

  • What are some of the differences between this version of TRL and the 1998 one? Which one is better? Why? 

TV details

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