Star Trek: Discovery parents guide: Should the final season boldly go into your family’s streaming queue?

The first two episodes of Season 5 are now streaming on Paramount+.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in season 5 key art of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Credit: James Dimmock/Paramount+
Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in season 5 key art of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Credit: James Dimmock/Paramount+ /
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After five seasons first on CBS All Access, and now on Paramount+, Star Trek: Discovery is boldly going where many Star Trek shows have gone before: towards a finale. And with the first two episodes of Season 5 now streaming, you might be wondering if this is the sort of thing your kids should engage with, or if you should set phasers to stun (i.e., put them to bed before watching).

Before we get to our warnings about content and age recommendations for the show, here’s the gist of the series. You’re probably familiar with Star Trek in general, a franchise taking place in the far future of space exploration. But even by the standards of the franchise, Discovery has been a wild ride. The first season introduced us to Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), an officer essentially exiled to the strange science vessel of the title.

Through too many twists and turns to recount, entering Season 5 Burnham is now Captain of the Discovery, and they’re about a thousand years in the future beyond most of the other Star Trek shows you’ve seen.

Based on the first four episodes of the season provided for critics, we’re in for more of the wild ride and rollicking adventure the series has been known for as they encounter new threats, new alien races, and go on a treasure hunt to save the galaxy.

Read on to find out if Star Trek: Discovery is appropriate for the whole family – or if it will leave your kids discovery-ing some naughty words.

Star Trek: Discovery Parents Guide: Explaining The TV-MA Rating

Star Trek: Discovery Season 5
L-R David Ajala as Book, Mary Wiseman as Tilly, Doug Jones as Saru, Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham, Wilson Cruz as Culber, Blu Del Barrio as Adira and Callum Keith Rennie as Raynor in season 5 of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Credit: James Dimmock/Paramount+ /

While Star Trek started on broadcast, Discovery kicked off the streaming era of the franchise, and has since led the way for direct spinoffs like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and other shows like Star Trek: Picard and the animated Star Trek: Lower Decks. Point being, it sort of set the tone for the whole thing.

Sex & Nudity: There’s one scene of explicit nudity on Star Trek: Discovery, with a naked Klingon (covered in body makeup) having sex with a prisoner in a scene that is an implied rape. That’s pretty intense! But it’s also the most intense sex moment on the show which otherwise is not much raunchier than what you would see on network TV. Characters of all genders and sexual preferences are stuck in space on a starship together, and things are bound to happen. While it’s about 10% beyond the “fall in bed, fade to black” ethos of other shows like Next Generation, it’s still not terrible for older kids in the family – other than that one scene.

Violence: Depending on what you consider violence, yes, there are non-stop laser battles and people dying. That said, the show definitely got milder as it went. Season 1 started with a horrific battle between Starfleet and villains the Klingons, and has woven some bloody wounds throughout the various seasons. But (again, just the first four episodes) Season 5 might be the closest to classic Trek so far. Other than some bumps, bruises, and fisticuffs, not a gaping wound in sight.

Language: This is probably the biggest place Discovery veers from classic Trek. Most of the time the language is fine, and then every once in a while someone will drop the S-word or an F-bomb, because it’s streaming and they can. It’s not frequent, but it’s always surprising when it happens.

Drinking & Drugs: There’s some drinking of the future variety, though given we’re mostly talking synthehol, nobody really gets drunk most of the time. Heck, they’ve got jobs to do! They work in space!

Overall Verdict: What Age Is Star Trek: Discovery Appropriate For?

So, here’s the thing. Discovery is rated TV-MA, which means technically those under 17 shouldn’t check it out. However, other than the rape scene mentioned above, which is pretty intense and leads to a character’s PTSD, there isn’t a lot you won’t find in your run-of-the-mill Marvel movie. Yes, there’s language. And yes, there’s some gruesome violence, particularly in earlier seasons. But mostly it should be okay for older teens, and is closer to a TV-14.

And frankly, the first four episodes of Season 5 are fine for even younger viewers, if they’re interested. I can’t speak to the whole season, but if you want to jump into the final season with your family, you should (for now) be a-okay.

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