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

Tom Kirkman never asked to be president.

No one voted for him. No one encouraged him to run. He's far more comfortable behind a desk than in front of a teleprompter, a hard-working bureaucrat with an eye for policy details, not political intrigue. He was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, after all. It's a job that earned him a spot at the big boy's table in Washington. But it's not exactly a launching pad to political stardom.

"At the end of the day, I'm not President of the United States," Kirkman reminds Emily Rhodes, his loyal chief of staff, one fateful day. "You should remember that."

But ironically, and tragically, he's wrong. That evening, a massive explosion rips apart the Capital building, where the President was giving his State of the Union address to Congress. All the country's high-level senators and congressmen were there, as were most members of the President's administration. Only Kirkman—singled out as the emergency "designated survivor" in the case of just such a cataclysm—wasn't on the Hill.

So at the end of the day, he is President of the United States. And it's up to this bespectacled policy wonk to shepherd the country through the greatest crisis it's ever known.

Hail to the Chief

Designated Survivor marks the return of 24's Kiefer Sutherland to the small screen in a much different role. And the show that first aired on ABC for two seasons has now been picked up by Netflix for its third season. No longer Sutherland he being asked to torture the truth out of dastardly spies and race across busy metropoli before the next commercial break. No, President Kirkman has a much different skill set.

But Kirman's job is no less stressful, really. Many a nation would love to take advantage of this apparent moment of American weakness. Many a politician and general would like to bring this inexperienced POTUS to heel and have him do their bidding.

Kirkman's leadership abilities are questioned by the world and even by his own staff. Especially in Season 3 as Kirkland’s term comes to an end and he prepares to run for office from scratch—something he’s never done before.

Mr. Bauer Goes to Washington?

While some of Kirkman's new staff may be less-than-impressed with their head honcho, television critics showered Designated Survivor with praise when it originally aired on ABC.

Variety said the pilot episode was "annoyingly good." TV Insider's Matt Roush name-dropped a handful of critically acclaimed, Emmy-bait shows by way of comparison, saying that "fall's niftiest new drama has West Wing idealism, Homeland suspense and House of Cards political intrigue in its robust and compelling DNA. Jack Bauer would die for this guy."

High praise from a secular critic to be sure. But discerning viewers might note that at least two of those shows—Homeland and House of Cards—often pair seriously problematic content with their dramatic storylines. Does Designated Survivor follow in those programs' explicit, bloody footsteps?

The original two seasons on ABC were largely free of content conundrums. But now that Designated Survivorhas moved to Netflix for its third season (with another reportedly in the works), problematic content flows freely from the Oval Office.

Not Politics as Usual

Now, it’s not all problematic content. The drama in the West Wing still involves more backbiting than bone-breaking. This is, after all, a political drama. And Kirkman is, at his core, a family man. He was a devoted husband to his wife until her tragic death; and he’s a caring father to his son, Leo, and young daughter, Penny.

But this show definitely has more problems in Season 3. Sexual content now includes prostitution, heterosexual couples shedding clothes and climbing into bed together and a prominently featured gay male couple who share a kiss or two. The language we hear inside the White House now includes f-words and other harsh profanities. And, of course, there's a great deal of lying and subterfuge going on in and around the Oval Office.

In its early stages, Designated Survivor was a rare beast indeed—a good, gritty show that kept its nose relatively clean. But with its migration to the free-range realm of Netflix, it has fully morphed into something much more explicit, almost as if the showrunners wanted to run its formerly clean nose deep in the new iteration's TV-MA rating.

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

Designated Survivor: Sept. 21, 2016 "Pilot"



Readability Age Range





Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman; Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman; Adan Canto as Aaron Shore; Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes; LaMonica Garrett as Mike Ritter; Kal Penn as Seth Wright; Maggie Q as Agent Hannah Wells; McKenna Grace as Penny Kirkman; Geoff Pierson as Cornelius Moss; Anthony Edwards as Mars Harper; Julie White as Lorraine Zimmer; Aunjanue Ellis as Eleanor Darby






Record Label




On Video

Year Published


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!