What TV shows are on the ‘naughty list’ in 2022?

What are the best TV shows for 2022? If you’re curious, now’s the time to delve into this question. News and entertainment sites publish their favorite lists throughout the month.

You’ll find more variation than consensus, reflecting our entertainment reality – multiple streaming platforms with strong offerings. Scroll through any of the Top 10, Top 30, or even 41 lists, and it’s clear just how many options critics have to choose from.

But should any of these popular shows fall on the list of concerned naughty parents?

We asked Melissa Henson, director of programs at the Council for Parents, Television and Media, if there are any particular TV shows to worry about in 2022. She identified two specific areas of concern that could lead to a TV show being placed on the naughty list.

Darker and darker themes

In 2021, the second most-streamed TV series, according to Express VPN, was Netflix’s “Squid Game” — a South Korean drama in which children’s games end in death. The show is rated TV-MA, but as CNN noted, “the show has found its way to much younger audiences, raising doctors’ concerns.” The “Squid Game” has also inspired content aimed at children on platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and the computer game Roblox.

Writing for TheConversation.com, Jessica Balanzategui: “The unbridled intergenerational appeal of ‘Squid Game’ shows how streaming media is challenging current notions of ‘kid-friendly’ content.

In 2022, the most streamed TV show is Stranger Things. Season 4 of the Netflix supernatural dropped May 27, Henson said, and was “more thematically darker than any of the previous seasons.”

“Stranger Things” always carries a TV-14 rating, which indicates that it is suitable for most teens. However, after the arrival of the fourth season, the Council of Parents Television and Media questioned this rating as the series became more profane and more violent. According to the organization, instances of objectionable language in “Stranger Things” (which included more uses of the F-word) increased by 217% between seasons one and four, and violence increased by 307%.

Currently, the most popular streaming series is also Netflix’s TV-14 show — “Wednesday,” according to both JustWatch.com and ReelGood.com, two websites that track usage across streaming platforms. “Wednesday” is a iteration of “The Addams Family,” which was first adapted for television in 1964.

According to the Netflix description, this teenage version of the character attends “a bizarre boarding school where she tries to master her psychic powers, stop a brutal killing spree of the town’s citizens, and solve the supernatural mystery that has beset her family for 25 years — all while navigating her new relationships.”

Considering all of the TV-MA content offered by streaming services, “Wednesday” is more conservative (mild gore and violence with occasional profanity) and the TV-14 rating seems appropriate. However, it does fit a pattern, according to Henson.

“There is a complete darkness that fills programs aimed at teenagers,” she said.

As a media watcher and parent, Henson worries that the abundance of dark content — and the emptiness of content with hopeful messages — is unhealthy for an age group that is often “unable to project itself into the future.”

“A lot of the programs that target these kids feed into this sense of hopelessness,” Henson said. “When you nurture this mindset, it encourages children to think about the present rather than projecting them into the future. Having programs with a message of hope helps free children from the burden of the now.”

A scene from the movie

Adult content marketed to children

In November, the Parents Television and Media Council sent a letter to Lina M. Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, urging the agency to “renew its efforts to hold the entertainment industry accountable for how it markets content to children.”

The letter states that “Hollywood” is still trying to make an ultimate round about parents, deliberately targeting kids and teens in marketing their adult-rated entertainment products on the platforms teens use the most. “

According to the letter, adult-oriented TV series like HBO’s “Euphoria” and Hulu’s “Big Mouth,” “Pen15” and “Squid Game” are being marketed to teens via TikTok and Instagram.

“They reach children wherever they are… in the milieu they are most likely to interact with,” said Henson, who co-authored the letter. “They know that Mom and Dad may not be 100 percent aware of what their kids are seeing.”

All series mentioned in the letter are rated TV-MA and intended for adults.

“The TV-MA rating should, in theory, serve as a gatekeeper for kids seeking to learn more about the programme,” the letter reads. “But social media gives kids great access to these shows, whether their families subscribe to a particular streaming platform. And Hollywood uses that backdoor to do that. …

“Even the most vigilant of parents cannot expect children to be repeatedly bombarded with content designed to pique their interest in entertainment products rated for adults.”

In September, the organization criticized Disney over the FXX animated series “Little Demon,” which premieres on August 25. Disney acquired 21st Century Fox in March 2019. The series, which airs on basic cable, is about a 13-year-old girl who discovers she was conceived by Satan and features multiple uses of the F-word and other profanity, as well as animated gore and nudity.

“Despite hollow suggestions to the contrary, Disney is well aware that Little Demon is designed to appeal to children, especially young teens and preteens,” said Tim Winter, president of the Parents, Television & Media Council.

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