Dark Matter parents guide: Kids should not go on this sci-fi thriller journey

The Apple TV+ series is intriguing, but perhaps not for a younger audience.
Courtesy: Apple TV+
Courtesy: Apple TV+ /

Dark Matter premiered on Apple TV+ today, and with a new show that means we take a look at whether it's appropriate for kids or not with this parent guide. There's so much new content that comes out, it's hard to keep track of it all. Well, that's what we're here for!

The sci-fi thriller explores the idea of what-ifs. What if one character made a different choice, leading to "the road not taken," per the synopsis? That's what the lead character Jason Dessen ends up figuring out when the "physicist, professor, and family man" is kidnapped and taken to an alternate reality of his own life. But of course, things are very different. He goes on a journey to try and get back to his reality, but there's someone standing in his way: himself.

The show is based on the novel of the same name by Blake Crouch, who is also the creator and writer of the series. Starring Joel Edgerton as Jason and Jennifer Connelly as his wife Daniela, the story takes you on an emotional journey through all the sci-fi craziness. The 9-episode series debuted with the first two episodes today and will release one installment weekly going forward until the finale on June 26. But one thing many of you are also wondering is whether it's appropriate for kids.

Dark Matter Parents Guide: Explaining the TV-MA Rating

Well, the answer is that the show is rated TV-MA, which means those under 17 years old should not be watching unsupervised. Let's take a look at how much sex and nudity, violence, mature language, and drinking and drugs are portrayed.

Sex & Nudity: There really isn't anything too graphic. Jason and Daniela do have sex, but only Jason's shirt comes off, there's making out, and that's the gist of the scene in the first episode. Later on in the final hour (episode 9), the couple again does have sex but it's more of just the lead-up to it with kissing. We then skip to the aftermath with Jason and Daniela in bed together but covered by the blanket. There is a scene in later episodes where Jason is visiting a character named Leighton, and there's a man who wakes up on Leighton's couch and walks to the bathroom, with his behind showing.

Violence: Yes, there's a good amount of violence as it's used to intimidate characters, especially with guns and tasers. Right off the bat in episode 1, Jason is approached by a masked figure and held at gunpoint. While he's driving the car with his kidnapper, the figure holds the gun up to his face. He's then asked to take off his clothes, though Jason't boxers remain on. He's pushed down the stairs, drugged, and passes out. In another scene in episode 2, one of the characters is shot right in the head and is bleeding out with their eyes open.

Language: The F-bomb is a favorite word for many of the characters, and it's used quite often in multiple episodes. At the end of the very first one, even the song closing out the installment says the F-word very clearly. Other swear words including the D-word are also said.

Drinking & Drugs: This is on the lighter side. There's a few scenes at the bar Jason frequents and the characters are drinking. But there isn't too much of it. There are also mentions of smoking weed and using LSD but it's not shown. Jason is injected with a needle by his assailant which makes him pass out. But it's not known what's in it (at the start).

Courtesy: Apple TV+ /

Overall Verdict: What Age Is Dark Matter Appropriate For?

I think the TV-MA rating is definitely fair just due to the amount of violence and expletives on the series. If you're more strict with what your kids watch, then you may want to skip this one. However, since there isn't much nudity, drinking, and drugs, I would say it's okay for 15 and 16-year-olds to watch it. Unfortunately, teens are exposed to much worse than what's seen on the show. And let's face it. When it comes to expletives, they hear it all from their peers at school.

Overall if your kids are big sci-fi fans and like the mysterious element of figuring out how this alternate reality works, then you might want to give your older teens the chance to see it. Dark Matter is a good story that at the end of the day is about a man who desperately wants to get back to his family. There are some violent and mature elements that go along with it, but like I said. I do think the older teens can handle it, if you are comfortable with them watching. But definitely don't let anyone younger than that check it out!

Dark Matter streams new episodes Wednesdays on Apple TV+.

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