A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Faith, cult behavior, and the overreach of the federal government are themes.
Positive Role Models
David Koresh thought himself a prophet. Some members of federal agencies look to de-escalate situations, while others shoot to kill.
Violence & Scariness
Screams, yelling, shootings, killings. Military-type raids, including tanks, helicopters, etc. A fiery fire results in deaths.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Celibacy was part of the faith, but Koresh practiced polygamy and sired children with underage women.
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"Piss," "damn," "bulls--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some beer consumption visible, but drinking, smoking, and drugs were against Branch Davidian rules.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Waco is a series about the events leading up to the government siege of cult leader David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound, and the 51 days that ended in his followers' fiery deaths. Guns, shootings, bloody wounds, and death by fire are all featured. Celibacy, polygamy, and underage sexual relationships that often result in pregnancy are a major part of the story, too. There's some cursing ("bulls--t"), and beer drinking is occasionally visible. Faith, cult behavior, and the aggressive overreach of the federal government are also addressed.
Is It Any Good?
This troubling series presents a controversial retelling of the events that led to the violent deaths of 80 people during the standoff between the Branch Davidians and the U.S. government. It highlights the tensions between the FBI and ATF, as well as the lack of agreement between negotiators and tactical rescue teams, the latter of which were using increased militarized approaches to resolve conflicts with anti-establishment groups during that time. It also points to some of the Branch Davidians' religious practices at Mt. Carmel Center, which were guided by Koresh's interpretation of the apocalyptic Seven Seals (from the Bible's Book of Revelations).
Perhaps because it's based on the recollections of his former friend, Koresh is portrayed as a somewhat sympathetic character, regardless of the fact that he ordered his followers to illegally stockpile weapons, and fathered at least 12 children with multiple underage "wives." The story also fails to address the rationale behind these actions in any meaningful way. Despite the fact that Koresh and some of his followers were responsible for the deaths of so many, federal operatives are characterized as overly aggressive, politically motivated, and mostly responsible for what happened. All of this makes Waco an unsettling viewing experience, especially for those who were watching during those fateful days in 1993.
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.