A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some of the characters in this series -- adults as well as teens -- aren't the best role models. Priorities are skewed: A dad wants his snowboarding-champion son to sign endorsements and do talk shows, but restricts the son's choices; meanwhile, the son should be focusing on promoting himself positively but is drawn in by the hard-partying lifestyle of the rich and famous. Plus, rich people make lower-class people feel worthless and friends as well as siblings are sarcastic and condescending toward each other.
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What's the story?
The N's teen drama WHISTLER, filmed on location in Vancouver, BC, transports viewers to a world-class ski resort where there's much more to the town's pristine slopes and charming exterior than first meets the eye. As the resort gears up for the 2010 Olympics, a devastating incident sends a jolt through the community: One of Whistler's young residents, snowboarding champ Beck McKaye (David Paetkau), is found dead on the slopes. Although his death is first deemed an accident, Beck's brother, 17-year-old Quinn (Jesse Moss), conducts his own investigation and uncovers some disturbing information -- not only was Beck murdered, but he also harbored some shocking secrets that cast an unfavorable light on him and many other townspeople, even his own friends and family. As Quinn, Beck's innkeeper parents (Nicholas Lea and Ingrid Kavelaars), Beck's girlfriend Carrie (Amanda Crew), and his other friends struggle to come to terms with Beck's death, the dark mystery surrounding the incident -- and enshrouding the seemingly innocent town -- slowly unravels.
Is it any good?
Although Whistler's premise is intriguing enough (even if it is rather morbid for a teen series), the show is unfortunately weighed down by a script that spends too much time focusing on the negative side of almost every character or relationship. Not only are the teen characters condescending toward each other, but many of the adults don't seem to like or respect each other, men treat women in a demeaning manner, and everyone lacks the maturity to get along.
The all-Canadian cast generally does a decent job (especially the younger actors), but they can't overcome the mediocre script, and some of the more wooden performances by the adults are decidedly cringe-inducing. There's little warmth to any of the characters, which makes it hard to care about their plight. In the end, while it's admirable for a teen-oriented series to take a risk and address life's not-so-sunny side, Whistler goes too far in that direction -- kids will probably prefer more lighthearted teen fare.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the central death and how it affects the Whistler community. How do the other characters handle it, depending on their relationship with Beck? How would you feel if a friend or relative of yours died under suspicious circumstances? Families can also discuss the relative realism of the show -- is this what you think life at a ski resort like Whistler would really be like?