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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Teamwork and courage are the major players here, but characters also learn to have empathy and understanding for others' situations. The storylines show the importance of people being able to make their own choices, learn from their mistakes, and rise to the occasion/unexpected challenges.
Positive Role Models
Willow may have made mistakes, but he remains an upstanding character who is guided to do the right thing. The younger characters have lots to learn, but their hearts are in the right place as they work together to complete their journey. They grow significantly over the course of the series: Elora overcomes reluctance and fear to embrace her position and her power, Graydon becomes more confident and stronger, Kit learns the value of self sacrifice, and even rogues like Boorman show that they have decent moral compasses.
The ensemble cast is made up of many racially and gender-diverse actors. Tony Revolori is of Guatemalan descent and plays a highly educated, helpful young prince. Amar Chadha-Patel is a British actor of Indian descent, and Erin Kellyman is biracial and a lesbian. A queer romance is part of the plot. Actor Warwick Davis has dwarfism, and many little people make up the community of Nelwyn, including Warwick's daughter; they're all played respectfully and given depth. Women have central roles and agency.
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Violence & Scariness
Lots of peril, dark fantasy imagery, and very creepy monsters, especially the Crone and her scary minions, the Gales. Frequent swordplay, intense battles (with both physical weapons and magic) against monsters, and a bloody battlefield with many dead bodies. Abrupt deaths of sympathetic supporting characters, and one implied death of a major character. Characters known as "bone reavers" wear skulls as masks. Other monsters have caged heads, decomposing flesh, and pointy, needle-like teeth. Trolls are menacing. A main character has visions of a disturbing, apocalyptic future event.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss, make out, exchange longing looks, and talk of love. One gets a hickey that he passes off as an injury. Sexual innuendo and sex jokes that may go over younger kids' heads. For example, a character says to another that he's a "great admirer of her muffins."
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Language includes "s--t," "bitch," "suck," "damn," "ass," "hell," "crap," "butt," "oh God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the Brownies is known to be a big drinker.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Willow is an adventure fantasy series based on the 1988 film. Alongside a cast of both new and familiar faces, Warwick Davis reprises his role as an unlikely wizard. Like the original movie, the series is a rollicking, lively tale with lots of fantasy violence and romance. But it's a bit darker and more intense than the '80s film. There's frequent peril and lots of scary imagery, including characters called "bone reavers" who wear skulls as masks. Other menacing monsters have caged heads, decomposing flesh, and pointy, needle-like teeth. Expect frequent swordplay, intense fights (both with weapons and with magic), and a bloody battlefield with many dead bodies. Sympathetic supporting characters are killed abruptly, and there's at least one implied death of a major character. Romance is a major plot point; characters kiss and make out, and there's lots of sexual innuendo. Language includes "damn," "ass," "suck," "s--t," "bitch," and "hell." The show has themes of teamwork, courage, and empathy and succeeds on the representation front: The ensemble cast is made up of many racially and gender-diverse actors, and a queer relationship is central to the plot.
Is It Any Good?
This charming, swashbuckling series isn't perfect, but it's a fun fantasy adventure and an excellent companion to the 1988 cult classic movie. Willow brings back some beloved characters while introducing a sparkling young ensemble cast that works quite well together. Revolori and Amar Chadha-Patel (as Madmartigan stand-in Boorman) bring the most comic relief, though zingers are distributed throughout. But Davis is the heart of the series, offering a flawless blend of gravitas and playfulness.
As in the original movie, there's a mix of accents in play here, which brings up some questions about why a British-sounding queen's daughter sounds fully American and uses modern slang. Maybe she inherited her vibes from her father, Val Kilmer's Madmartigan, whose roguish spirit prevails despite his not appearing in person here. But that's Willow in a nutshell: a flawed flight of fancy you can't help but love.
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.