• Is Netflix’s Answer to Game of Thrones Any Safer for Families to Watch?

    by  • January 8, 2020 • Profanity, Sex, Streaming, Violence • 0 Comments


    In late December, Netflix dropped The Witcher, a fantasy drama based on a book series and video game, and already it is drawing comparisons to HBO’s Game of Thrones.

    With its vaguely medieval setting featuring castles and kingdoms, its stark grey and blue cinematography, epic battle scenes, sorcery and myth-like creatures, it’s an understandable comparison.  Henry Cavill plays Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster hunter with supernatural powers whose destiny is bound-up with that of Cirilla (Ciri), a princess with mystical powers who is forced to go on the run after her kingdom is destroyed by an invading army.

    Although The Witcher doesn’t seem to be as in-your-face with the sexual content and nudity as GOT, it is still rated TV-MA, and that MA-rating is warranted. Game of Thrones’ sex scenes included rape and incest, neither of which appear to be part of The Witcher’s world – yet. Game of Thrones was also known for gratuitous female frontal nudity, which The Witcher does have; as well as plenty of gore and graphic violence – heads cleaved, throats cut, dismemberment, and more; plus more than its fair share of expletives and explicit language.

    Using filtering data from Vid Angel, the PTC was able to calculate that across eight episodes, viewers would hear 207 instances of profanity; witness 417 scenes of violence; and be subjected to 271 instances of sex, nudity and other sexual content – around 100 instances of adult content per one hour episode.

    So if you are hoping for a series that contains the fantasy elements of GOT but without the over-the-top adult content, The Witcher appears to be in many respects less offensive – but is still not suitable for family audiences.




    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

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