The Parents Television Council is warning parents not to get "blindsided" by a controversial show premiering on Father's Day.
The new HBO series called "Euphoria" is a high school-centered show, according to PTC's Melissa Henson, following in the footsteps of series like MTV's "Skins" and "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix … except that "Euphoria" is pushing the envelope even further by using extremely graphic adult content – sex, violence, profanity, and drug use – to target youngsters.
"It's almost like this race to the bottom to see who can get out there with the edgiest, the most risqué content, [to see] who can put these kids in the most dangerous situations," she laments.
The star of the new HBO series is longtime Disney Channel star Zendaya Coleman, who starred previously in the kid-friendly TV series "K.C. Undercover." She told The New York Times that there's unlikely to be any overlap between the target demographics:
"I don't think any of my 8-year-old fans know" that this show exists, she said, smiling. "If they do, I don't think their parents will let them watch it." (Excerpt from NYT story)
Henson warns parents that the premium cable network is available on streaming platforms.
"Now kids can stream [HBO] on their mobile devices and it's much easier for them to access this really, really troubling content," she warns. "And [it's] especially easy for them to access it outside of the purview of their parents – so they're going to be able watch it on their friends' devices, and it's going to be much harder for parents to restrict and control their kids' ability to access it."
According to Henson, the show's creators are even boasting how upset parents will be with the explicit content. "For them," she says, "it's about bragging rights at their next industry cocktail party. It's about being able to say Look what I got away with."
PTC president Tim Winter adds his own note of caution about what he calls HBO's "grossly irresponsible" programming decision.
"HBO might attach a content rating suggesting that it is intended for mature audiences," he offers, "but let's be real here: who watches a show about high school children, except high school and junior high school-aged children?"
"Euphoria" carries a TV-MA rating – a rating that warns viewers that the show's content contains crude indecent language, graphic violence, explicit sexual activity, or any combination of these elements.