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Zoe Valentine

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Zoe Valentine TV Poster Image
Thoughtful drama explores serious themes with heart.

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

Positive Messages

Zoe wrestles with emotions after her sister's death and finds comfort in unexpected new friendships as her family struggles to get past their loss. Secrecy causes rifts among family members, and open communication proves helpful in bringing people closer together. Zoe and Brody endure some bullying from more popular peers, but they never let it change who they are. A main character keeps his sexual orientation a secret from all but one trusted friend out of fear of judgment, and another endures relentless teasing for what a classmate assumes is his homosexuality.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

As Zoe's parents work through their grief and other life stresses separately, Zoe is forced to find ways to cope on her own. She finds strength in new and old friends, and in the memory of a sister she loved but didn't fully know. Isaac's trust in her boosts her self-esteem and helps her to grow in maturity and confidence.

 

Violence
Sex

Teens make out and play spin the bottle at a party. A boy calls a girl a friend's "wet dream" and makes jokes about a classmate's presumed homosexuality. A main character comes out as gay.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink from plastic cups at unsupervised parties, but it's never confirmed to be alcohol.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zoe Valentine is a drama series about a teen whose life and self-identity change dramatically when her older sister dies. The story involves serious themes like grief and its effect on the family structure, depression, bullying, and homosexuality, all of which is explored with honesty and hopefulness. Zoe is an excellent role model for tweens and teens. She copes with difficult emotions and uncertain social changes with grace and growing confidence, and she never lets people influence her in a negative way. A teen teases a classmate whom he presumes is gay, and another hides his homosexuality out of fear of other people's reactions. Expect some physical contact between teens (kissing, making out) and the occasional sexual term like "wet dream."

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What's the story?

In ZOE VALENTINE, a shy teen (Anna Cathcart) finds herself thrust into the spotlight after her older and more popular sister, Cleo (Malia Tyler), dies of cancer. As Zoe leans on her best friend, Brody (Diego Velazquez), and tries to find a new normal, she's surprised by the attention she gets from Cleo's boyfriend, Isaac (Carter Southern), and her callous social rival, Allison (Brighton Sharbino), who hopes to capitalize on Cleo's absence and claim Isaac as her own. As Zoe tries to find her own identity while discovering surprising new things about her sister, her relationships with her friends and family become even more important to her.

Is it any good?

Insightful and heartfelt, this drama series watches Zoe's metamorphosis from a shy, introspective teen to a confident young woman. Cleo's death changed a lot of aspects of Zoe's life, making her an object of curiosity at school to redefining her role in her family structure. The fallout isn't all welcome, and it accelerates Zoe's maturation, but overall she proves herself capable of the change.  

Zoe Valentine deals thoughtfully with serious issues like death, loss, family discord, bullying, and homosexuality. In every case, Zoe emerges as a positive model of kindness, respect, and loyalty. She keeps others' secrets and picks up the slack at home, redefining her priorities as her family's and friends' needs change but always staying true to her own moral compass.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coping with loss and other difficult emotions. Why is it important to face the things that bother us rather than letting them linger? How do challenges help us to grow? What are some healthy outlets for emotions?   

  • How do Zoe's friendships help support her in different ways? As her social circle grows, what effect does it have on her longest-running relationship with Brody? Is it OK that our friendships evolve as we grow and change?

  • How does Zoe demonstrate tolerance and compassion? Why are these character strengths so important to her in Zoe Valentine? How do her actions cast an even more critical light on those of her peers who are less kind?

TV details

Character Strengths

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