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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

Castle Rock's been home to rabid dogs and serial killers, haunted cameras and devil-owned antique shops. Sure, it looks nice and all. But trust me: You wouldn't want to live there.

Hulu’s look at Maine’s most infamous town (which, by the way, is adjacent to another rather well-known enclave called Jerusalem’s Lot) proves that season after season. And while it might be all too simple to die here, staying dead … well, that can be tricky.

The first season focused on a mysterious resident of Shawshank Prison and a young lawyer named Henry Deaver called back to defend him. In 2019, Castle Rock unveils a new season-long story—this one focusing on young vagabond Annie Wilkes and her daughter, Joy. We also meet angry local Ace Merrill, who’s not happy about a new mall being built that’s intended to serve the needs of the town’s immigrant Somali residents. Oh, and it’s being constructed on land reputed to be cursed.

While the town of Castle Rock boasts no drawbridges or portcullises or stone ramparts—typical features of most castles—there’s no question that a very important King holds sway here.


Even though his literary output has slowed in recent years, horror maestro Stephen King has had quite a run onscreen recently. IT scared up big money at the box office in 2017, and the sequel drummed up more than $200 million, too. That film shared theater space with Pet Sematary, based on another King novel. A movie based on Doctor Sleep, King’s sequel to The Shining, closes the author’s movie-laden 2019. Stranger Things, an original Netflix series with a serious Kingsian vibe to it, has become a bona fide cultural phenomenon. And Hulu is already home to some of King's work, given that the network brought his novel 11.22.63 to the small screen in 2016.

Castle Rock, of course, isn't based on a previous King work, but his DNA is spattered all over the series like blood. He helped create the thing with one-time Lost showrunner J.J. Abrams. And the town of Castle Rock has been the setting for many a King novel, from The Dead Zone and The Dark Half to Cujo and Needful Things. (And because King enjoys working in a shared universe, the fictional town is mentioned in dozens of his other works, too.) From the very beginning, we know just whose show this is.

Castle Rock tips its cap to dozens of King properties, it seems (along with a nod or two to Abrams' own horror-tinged mystery, Lost). Some are overt: Annie Wilkes is a main character in the novel Misery; Ace Merrill showed up in The Body (called Stand by Me when it became a movie) and Needful Things.

Other Kingsian allusions are more subtle: Ace, for instance, mentions he’s been to the town of Derry before, the locale for the events from IT. And a local Realtor mentions a guy named Hubie Marsten, who just happened to murder his wife before the events of Salem’s Lot. Sure, King might not have penned Castle Rock (Sam Shaw and Dusty Thomason are credited as its writers), but like the secret twin of King's The Dark Half, Castle Rock is wholly embedded in King's universe, leaching from it its sinister undertones, its complex character studies and … its problems.


While King knows how to tell a ripping good yarn (and can be surprisingly, even positively, spiritual at times), he's never been lauded for his restraint. His books are often filled with sex and language and oh-so-much gore.

Castle Rock stays true to its creator's oeuvre. While a good chunk of the show is just atmospherically creepy, it sometimes revels in cascades of blood and regales viewers with gore. Death and murder are such common fixtures here that the Grim Reaper should get a credit in the cast list.

But even if you close your eyes throughout, you still gotta deal with what seeps into your ears. F- and s-words crash the party with regularity, as do a smattering of other swear words. Also like King, Castle Rock dabbles in the world of Christian faith, and that world is not always presented positively.

Yes, Castle Rock is quite a town. Unforgettable, you might say—even if you wish you could. But for discerning viewers with an eye out for objectionable content, not only is Castle Rock a place you wouldn't want to live in, but you wouldn't want to visit it, either.

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

Oct. 23, 2019: "Let the River Run"
Sept. 11, 2018: "Romans"
July 25, 2018: "Severance"
Aug. 15, 2018: "Filter"



Readability Age Range



FIRST SEASON: André Holland as Henry Deaver; Melanie Lynskey as Molly Strand; Scott Glenn as Alan Pangborn; Jane Levy as Jackie; Terry O'Quinn as Dale Lacy; Bill Skarsgård as the kid; Sissy Spacek as Ruth Deaver; Caleel Harris as Young Henry Deaver; Chosen Jacobs as Wendell Deaver. SECOND SEASON: Lizzy Caplan as Annie Wilkes; Paul Sparks as John "Ace" Merrill; Barkhad Abdi as Abdi Omar; Yusra Warsama as Dr. Nadia Omar; Elsie Fisher as Joy Wilkes; Matthew Alan as Chris Merrill; Tim Robbins as Reginald "Pop" Merrill






Record Label




On Video

Year Published


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