A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Families need to know that Young Royals is a Swedish drama series about teens at an elite boarding school; the main character, Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding), is a member of the country's royal family. Because of his status, others often give him special attention and privilege, and he displays discomfort when he's made to perform in front of cameras for the public or urged to be compliant and not attract attention. Other characters are compared to the prince, to their detriment, especially a boy who's from a less wealthy family and doesn't live at the school. He's called a "non-res" and a "socialist" by other students, who look down on him (the show clearly views this as contemptible). Violence is infrequent, but there's one horrific hazing sequence early on: A teen boy is tied to a statue, forced to crawl around with a rope around his neck, and then made to drink a cup of spit until he vomits. In terms of sexual content, you can expect kissing, dating, and references to off-screen sex. A teen girl masturbates while looking at a picture on her phone; her hand moves below her jeans, and her face is shown as she gasps and moans. Language and cursing includes "f--k," "f--king," "hell," and "damn." Teens guzzle liquor at a party and then show the after-effects: They stagger, slur their words, vomit. One teen gives another psychiatric medicine that's not prescribed to him; the second teen then fakes symptoms to get a prescription.
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What's the story?
It's tough when YOUNG ROYALS get in trouble, because their whole country's watching. That's what has landed Sweden's Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) at prestigious boarding school Hillerska, the same one his brother, Prince Erik (Ivar Forsling), went to, and where his cousin August (Malte Gårdinger) is now the undisputed leader of the school's upperclassmen. Wilhelm liked his life in the city, but now he's thrown into a world where tradition and hierarchy rule, and he's expected just to stay quiet and do what he's told. And then Wilhelm meets classmate Simon (Omar Rudberg) and realizes there may just be something at this school that he likes, after all.
Is it any good?
Naturalistic and gripping, this Swedish import transcends the cliché it could have been and becomes something more unusual: a teen drama that actually feels like it could be telling a true story. When we first meet Prince Wilhelm, he's brawling in a club; moments later, he's being called on the carpet, literally, by his parents, tasked with giving a public apology for his mistakes of the night before, and announcing his enrollment at the elite boarding school his brother attended. And so the plot of Young Royals is set into motion, with privileged teens behaving badly, improbably riotous teen parties, boarding school bullies, and all the other tropes of glitzy series about rich kids in trouble. And yet, the show's filming style alerts the viewer that something different is afoot here: The lighting is realistic, not glossy; the characters have texture to their skin (and zits!); the teens look awkward and imperfect, like they're the right age for their roles (star Edvin Ryding was born in 2003).
There's something fascinating, too, in all the posturing -- high school personal politics with a large dash of classism. Wilhelm's classmate Felice (Nikita Uggla), the richest of rich girls, intends to marry a noble and kisses up to Wilhelm shamelessly; the interest of Wilhelm's cousin August isn't enough. "His sons won't be princes and princesses," she sniffs. Simon, as a "non-res" (meaning that he lives in town and attends classes at the school by day), is constantly reminded of his status. And yet Wilhelm, given enormous privilege due to his title, is no happier; one of Young Royals' strengths is that it puts his misery on full display as he's directed to repeat actions for clicking cameras and otherwise display royal deportment at all times. Being a teen is hard, and it appears that being a royal teen is even harder (if more luxe), but it sure is fun to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it's OK to show teen sex, drinking, and drug use on television. Do shows like Young Royals present a realistic view of teen life, or is anything exaggerated for entertainment? What would the real-life consequences of the characters' behavior be?
Does this show make being a teen look like fun? Is it realistic? Do the teens you know look and act like this? Do they have these types of problems? Does a show have to be hyper-realistic to be enjoyable?
Why would it be more interesting for a show to focus on characters who are rich and privileged than on those who are not? Do ordinary lives make for good TV shows? What shows about average teens can you name? Do they seem more or less realistic than Young Royals?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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