A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
We're told who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are, but everyone uses violence and intimidation to gain their ends.
Positive Role Models
The cast boasts some diversity with people of color onscreen; however, they are relegated to secondary roles while main characters are white (and generally male). Vanessa Van Helsing is brave and values her family above all else, but she's willing to hurt others to get what she wants.
Violence & Scariness
Vampires leer and hiss at the camera, bite necks and suck blood with liquid sounds, leaving bloody wounds in necks; vampires vomit blood on their victims and are stabbed with loud noises on the soundtrack; military personnel use machine guns to shoot vampires and humans point blank with blood and gore; vampires are bludgeoned to death; men threaten and beat each other; vampires attack suddenly and kill characters abruptly onscreen; one woman beats another to death by bashing her in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female characters are presented in costumes that are tighter/shorter/more revealing than male characters; a woman fights off a pack of vampires in her underwear; men and women shower together non-sexually to conserve water, no private parts are seen.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequent unbleeped cursing: "s--t," "goddamn," "hell," "a--shole." Vulgar language: "Someone's dicking around."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
A character mentions he misses going to Subway for lunch and eating Kit Kats.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A heroic character smokes cigarettes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Van Helsing is a dark, grim show about an apocalypse caused by vampires. Violence is frequent and intense; here's a sampling. Men and women fight each other with knives and guns. They're stabbed and punched and shot, bludgeoned in the face, and a woman's hand is impaled deeply on a knife. Vampires suddenly kill characters; bite and leave gory wounds. Female characters' costumes are often tighter and more revealing than male characters'; a main female character fights vampires in her underwear. Cursing: frequent and unbleeped "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn" "hell."
Is It Any Good?
Created and produced by controversial playwright Neil LaBute, this post-apocalyptic entry is a slight cut above average sci-fi thrillers writing-wise, but it's just not a lot of fun. Clearly SyFy is hoping for a The Walking Dead-type fandom -- one can imagine the "It's like Walking Dead but with vampires!" elevator pitch -- and for some Buffy the Vampire Slayer-type excitement with main vamp-kicker Vanessa. But Overton doesn't have Buffy's charm and personality, nor does the show have a sense of humor. Not that a "vampires end the world" premise is supposed to be fun; it's just that everything seems so grim, yet not scary enough to jolt viewers pleasurably.
It's hard to escape the feeling that you've seen this show before, and though the dialogue is a tad sharper and fresher than usual, perhaps courtesy of LaBute's stage roots, the characters and plot points seem recycled. Vampire fans, or worshippers of Walking Dead-esque shows may find they like Van Helsing, but most viewers will find it a bit of a slog.
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.