Common Sense Media says

Historical series doesn't downplay war's bloody realities.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The central message is that standing up for what you believe in takes courage, passion, and bravery -- but that you might have to betray your family and government to do it. Average citizens can become heroes.

Positive role models

The show's central character is a relatable, everyday hero who makes sacrifices and risks his life for the sake of doing the right thing. That said, female characters are scarce, and there's a noticeable lack of minority role models. 


Visuals include shootings, bayonet stabbings, and beatings with dead bodies and spurting blood.



Light sexual innuendo, mainly in the form of sexual harassment. Married couples sleeping in bed together.


Infrequent use of words like "damn" and "hell."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Turn is a historical drama set in 1776 during the early years of the Revolutionary War. Violence tends toward the graphic and realistic, with shootings, stabbings, beatings, and spurting blood. In keeping with the period, however, language is generally tame (think "hell" and "damn"), and sexual content is limited to some light innuendo. Characters drink socially, too, but only on occasion.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When the rebel Americans serving under Gen. George Washington need a "man on the inside" to help them spy on British forces during the Revolutionary War, unassuming cabbage farmer Abe Woodhull (Jamie Bell) becomes an unlikely hero as part of America's first spy ring. But deciding to TURN against his colonial government -- and his loyalist father (Kevin McNally) -- puts everything Abe's worked for at risk.

Is it any good?


Based on Alexander Rose's nonfiction book Washington's Spies, which charts the creation of America's first spy ring,Turn gets points for bringing history to the small screen and shedding light on a little-known benchmark in American espionage. But the thrill, as they say, is gone not long after it gets going, thanks to a story that's needlessly slow and characters who give us little reason to root for them. The show's opening credits (with animation that mimics the look of hand-cut silhouette art and music by The National's Matt Berninger and The Civil Wars' Joy Williams) are a compelling highlight, but most of what follows fails to measure up.

The good news for parents is that, aside from some graphic visuals, Turn makes for decent family viewing with older teens who could learn something about American history in a format that's far more appealing than a textbook. We just wish the show's female characters -- to say nothing of people of color, who are shown only briefly doing menial tasks for white people -- contributed more to the story than a few supportive lines.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Turn's take on the Revolutionary War and whether that portrayal seems accurate or exaggerated. What elements contribute to a sense of realism? (Think about violence, language, and costuming, to name a few.) How does the show compare with what you know to be true about the American colonies during that time?

  • How does Turn's title foreshadow the central conflicts of the series? How many levels of meaning does the word "turn" have in relation to the show's plot and characters?

  • How much screen time does the series give to women and minorities? Does their limited presence mirror the realities of the time period, and does that make the show's lack of diversity OK?

TV details

Cast:Jamie Bell, Angus Macfadyen, Heather Lind
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Turn was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bybookgeek101 April 25, 2015

Historical Gem

This show was almost cancelled, but it is truly amazing! A great historical show with great role models and realistic situations (from the 1770s of course). But, with all that being said, the show does push a limit of how much sex they include in their show (which can be done because it is aired at 9:00pm). Most of it is done for the plot, but it isn't overly graphic and the only nudity is from the side and the very top of butts. The violence is very realistic (set in a war). There is many bloody situations, but it is necessary for the plot. One character own a bar and sometimes characters get drunk or fake it in order to do something that they needed to do. This show is great! Don't miss it just because some people say it's too inappropriate!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byPopop80809 April 11, 2015

Good show

Good show, quite a bit to much sex, there is a some violence, lots of drinking, a little swering but only stuff like hell and damn.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bytennmom78 April 2, 2015

Very graphic and blatant sex scenes.

I completely agree with the other parent reviews. We only watched to the second episode and were shocked by the nudity and blatant sex scene. Not for kids of any age. Also very very violent. Common sense review is way off on this one. The adults in my house won't be watching it either.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


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