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

Good grief, Charlie Brown says. And maybe he has a point. But grief sure doesn’t feel good. In fact, it can mess you up something awful.

Just ask Jen, a 40-something real estate agent whose husband was killed by a hit-and-run driver—leaving her with two sons and zero sense of closure. She has no idea who killed her husband; the police say she probably never will. And even though she’s trying to move on, it’s not easy—not with the three-alarm rage boiling underneath her pinched face and folded arms. Writing down the license plate numbers of cars that have a “person-sized dent” in them doesn’t seem to be helping, either.

What does help? Chocolate chip cookies. The Facts of Life. A little marijuana. And, most especially, her best friend, Judy. In Jen’s world filled with pitying glances and unanswered questions, Judy helps her laugh, and cry and even sleep.

But Jen hasn’t noticed the person-sized dent in Judy’s own car just yet.

Where’s the Grief?

Netflix’s Dead to Me is characterized as a black comedy, and indeed it’s plenty dark. But poking through its grim folds we find some unexpected insights, and maybe even a kernel of hope and wisdom.

The show unpacks the weird, messy realities of grief, a condition we all process differently. It’s not a one-size-fits-all box that we climb into or out of the same way or on the same schedule. And in this show's own curious and sometimes barbed style, it offers both advice and hope on how to process our losses and, eventually, to move past them.

Judy’s own cause of grief offers an interesting wrinkle, too. She and Jen meet at a grief workshop, and Judy first says that she lost her fiancée to a heart attack. But when Jen discovers that Judy’s one-time beau is alive and quite healthy, another layer of Judy’s story unfurls: She and her fiancée desperately wanted a family, but Judy kept miscarrying. In flashback, we see Judy after her fifth miscarriage, weeping bitterly in a hospital hallway, her dress stained with blood. She says they ultimately broke up over the painful issue.

When Judy apologizes to Jen for lying and joining a grief support group, even though she didn’t have an “actual thing,” Jen (eventually) corrects her.

“I think it is an actual thing,” Jen says. “Not if a Republican is asking … but you heard a heartbeat, and you fell in love with that heartbeat.” In that moment, Dead to Me reminds us that there’s more than tissue in a pregnant womb: Something special is growing, something worth grieving over.

Given that, perhaps we might be forgiven for grieving a bit over the show itself—or, more fairly, what it could’ve been.

Hit and Run

Dead to Me didn’t need to be TV-MA. Everything that makes the show watchable, if not special, is part of its core DNA: Its strong cast (anchored by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini), its thoughtful character development and clever writing.

No, the f-words—of which the show has plenty—are unneeded. The drug use we see here serves a purpose, but nothing that dozens of other narrative decisions could’ve done just as effectively.

And again, let me remind you this is indeed a black comedy—thoughtful at times, yes, but bleak as well. It goes in some dark directions that plenty of viewers won’t want to go.

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

May 3, 2019: "Pilot"



Readability Age Range



Christina Applegate as Jen Harding; Linda Cardellini as Judy Hale; James Marsden as Steve Wood; Max Jenkins as Christopher Doyle; Sam McCarthy as Charlie Harding; Luke Roessler as Henry Harding; Edward Asner as Abe






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!