Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Each age comes with its own nightmares. In the Age of Aquarius, one was Charles Manson.

It's 1967, and Los Angeles is in the grip of change. While the Vietnam War rages halfway around the world, youth at home are fighting against traditional authority. Blacks push for rights long denied. It's an exciting time for some—a time to embrace love and peace and groovy music. But there's a dark side to all that. And while the '60s didn't create Charles Manson exactly, the decade did provide the greenhouse in which he grew, the environment through which he spread. He believed in free love and anti-materialism and the power of music—specifically his music—to change the world. And he convinced his "family," a harem of women who hung on his every word and note, that it would happen.

Emma Karn is one such young woman in NBC's Aquarius, the network's fictionalized snapshot of Manson and the era. A 16-year-old runaway, the girl is easily swayed by Manson's personality and promises. She finds happiness in his presence, she believes. It's at least a kind of happiness she didn't feel when living with her mom and dad.

Her parents, obviously, want her back. But there are complications, given Dad's political ambitions. In desperation, Mom turns to Sam Hodiak, L.A. detective and an old flame of hers, to track down Emma off the books. But Sam, sporting a crew cut and black tie, can't exactly blend in with the city's hippie culture. So he partners with young, hip narcotics officer Brian Shafe, a guy who sometimes has more in common with the folks he's arresting than the boys in blue he's working with. Together, Sam and Brian just might be able to track down the girl and deal with this Manson guy before he does something really despicable.

We know, of course, that Manson wasn't dealt with, and that fact lends an air of fatalism to this taut NBC series, which is being unspooled an episode a week on TV while at the same time arriving in toto on the network's app and iTunes. But this isn't a show to just casually binge watch. Because NBC plays up both the tawdry sex and the unimaginable violence that consumes Manson's story.

Many of the episodes sport a TV-MA rating, and those that are rated TV-14 aren't noticeably better. The series is filled with sexually charged content—from heterosexual to same-sex couplings, from suggested rapes to disturbing orgies—as intimate, moody camerawork takes us ever closer to the action. People are maimed and murdered, too, with the haze of marijuana smoke swirling around it all, along with the lightheaded buzz of guzzled martinis.

NBC might argue that such "realism" simply reflects the salacious situations in which the show is set. The 1960s brought with it dissolving norms, after all, as society itself seemed to be crumbling into a more free (read: lawless) state. Ironically, it was television in that time that was governed by some of the land's strictest rules. The age of the counterculture was also the age of The Andy Griffith Show and Gunsmoke, The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan's Island. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour—as radical as television got back in the day—seems so wonderfully innocent now.

Our current television epoch is, meanwhile, glorying in an almost countercultural revolution itself—pushing harder and harder toward the status of anything goes. And while this newfound freedom, some would say, is a catalyst for unprecedented breakthroughs in storytelling, it brings with it nightmares of its own. And you need look no farther than Aquarius to find some of them.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Aquarius: May 28, 2015



Readability Age Range



David Duchovny as Detective Sam Hodiak; Grey Damon as Brian Shafe; Gethin Anthony as Charles Manson; Emma Dumont as Emma Karn; Claire Holt as Charmain Tully; Chance Kelly as Ed Cutler; Michaela McManus as Grace Karn; Brían F. O'Byrne as Ken Karn






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!