TV Series Review
In 1972, English author Richard Adams published a children's novel called Watership Down. But many critics said it was hardly kids' stuff.
Based on the lives of anthropomorphized rabbits, Adams created a world where these furry woodland creatures had their own religion, mythology and desires. It focused on two brothers living in a bustling warren—essentially, a cottontail commune: Hazel, the eldest and Fiver, the runt.
One night Fiver has a terrifying vision concerning the destruction of his home. After he relays his vision to big-brother Hazel, the pair shares the dream with their commander, imploring him to evacuate the warren immediately. But they're refused, so the brothers gather as many followers as possible, and leave everything they've ever known in search of a safer environment.
Adams' original story is now considered a classic, but the perilous adventure yarn is filled with plenty of disturbing elements: Rabbits hurt and sometimes kill one another in surprisingly graphic ways. And in the late '90s, people weren't too pleased as the book became a terrifying, animated movie—leaving parents with littles a bit disillusioned.
But if the book and the movie were bothersome, they hold nothing to the Netflix show.
TV Changes Everything
Filled with violence and adult themes enough to scare any child (or creep out even many adults), this miniseries based on Adams' book will shock you—especially if you flipped it on in the hopes of watching a cute show featuring adorable bunnies.
Rabbits live in perpetual fear: They're manipulated, violently threatened and sometimes even killed: At one point, one is even stomped to death. One warren treats female rabbits as if they're sex slaves, used only for breeding. Rabbits are physically branded (though it's unclear that that's what is actually happening), propositioned and threatened into submission. Oh, and they also hold a group séance where they chant to their rabbit god, asking for protection and pledging their devotion.
On the bright-ish side, it's not all gloom and doom. There are also lessons of bravery, encouragement and leadership. The miniseries tells us that fighting for one's freedom is worthwhile and important, and that it's good to support and protect those you love.
Still, the positive certainly does not outweigh the negative. And though Netflix has given this miniseries a PG rating, a show filled with this much unfriendly content feels like it has the potential to hop to other rating territories.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Voices of: James McAvoy as Hazel; Nicholas Hoult as Fiver; John Boyega as Bigwig; Ben Kingsley as General Woundwort; Tom Wilkinson as Threarah; Gemma Arterton as Clover; Peter Capaldi as Kehaar; Olivia Colman as Strawberry; Mackenzie Crook as Hawkbit; Anne-Marie Duff as Hyzenthlay; Taron Egerton as El-Ahrairah; Freddie Fox as Captain Holly; James Faulkner as Frith; Lee Ingleby as Captain Campion; Miles Jupp as Blackberry; Daniel Kaluuya as Bluebell; Rory Kinnear as Cowslip; Craig Parkinson as Sergeant Sainfoin; Rosamund Pike as Black Rabbit of Inlé; Daniel Rigby as Dandelion; Charlotte Spencer as Nettle