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We Are The Wave

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
We Are The Wave TV Poster Image
Mature German teen drama explores extremism.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It explores how fighting a conservative establishment and capitalist interests can turn into a misguided, extremist movement. Bullying, teen romance, and the loss of a parent, are also themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tristan is motivated to fight the establishment, but not necessarily to help society. Other members of the movement get caught up in a groupthink mentality, prompting them to behave in ways they normally wouldn’t. 

Violence

Insult hurling, bullying, school yard fighting, and stealing is visible. Guns are drawn and used to threaten. References are made to wars in different countries, etc. Terrorist acts and attempted murders are planned (and some put into motion). 

Sex

Contains some strong sexual content (particularly in later episodes). Nudity (male backside) is visible in one episode. 

Language

Lots of cursing ("s--t," "f--k").

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer and wine drinking and smoking is visible. There are references to drug dealing. Poison is administered. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Are The Wave is a German (dubbed into English) coming-of-age series that tackles some difficult topics, including political and social extremism. It also contains teen themes like bullying, romance, and the death of a parent. Violent events range from schoolyard fights to attempted terrorist acts and murder. Drinking and smoking is sometimes visible, and drugs are alluded to. Lots of cursing, including "s--t" and "f--k."

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What's the story?

Loosely based on the 1981 American novel, The Wave, WE ARE THE WAVE is a German series about a group of teens whose plans to band together and fight against injustice take a dark turn. A new, troubled student named Tristan Broch (Ludwig Simon) befriends social misfits Zazie Elsner (Michelle Barthel), Rahim Hadad (Mohamed Issa), and Hagen Lemmart (Daniel Friedl), and encourages them to join him in an idealistic social movement designed to resist the increasingly conservative establishment. He also inspires the privileged, but restless, Lea Helst (Luise Befort) to join them. Calling themselves "The Wave," they set out to protest and take stands against corporate greed, anti-environmentalism, and other social ills. But soon the group becomes more radicalized, and Tristan propels them towards committing violent, illegal acts, raising questions about what is personally motivating him. 

Is it any good?

This entertaining teen series, which is dubbed in English, offers a troubling exploration of social conformity mixed with coming-of-age drama. The story, which draws from a 1960s social experiment designed to show how quickly fascism spread in the 1930s, offers a contemporary example of how quickly any extreme movement can take hold of a society when the need for group acceptance is prioritized, and violence is justified. But We Are The Wave successfully weaves in romance, teen angst, bullying, and other themes that will appeal to a younger audience. The sociopolitical messages are not understated or subtle, which may be a turn off for some viewers. But if you’re looking for a well-produced story that has something to say about today’s state of the world, this one will be worth watching. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the topics addressed in this story. When is it appropriate to stage protests or go against authority? Is violence ever a justifiable way of making a point when doing so?

  • What are some of the warnings We Are The Wave gives us about extremism and society? Do they apply to what's happening in our world today?

TV details

For kids who love international TV

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