A new heartfelt, emotional family drama is coming to Netflix this month, and parents who are looking to settle in for some family bonding time with a good tearjerker may be wondering if Northern Rescue is appropriate for kids. Given that the series focuses on a family trying to rebuild after the death of its matriarch, you can imagine that it gets pretty intense. The kid characters on the show are also a little older — a 14-year-old girl, a 17-year-old boy, and a 19-year-old girl — so they're dealing with some grittier teen themes.
Netflix gives Northern Rescue a TV-14 rating, saying "Parents strongly cautioned. May be unsuitable for children ages 14 and under." For reference, that's the same rating as Parenthood, a similarly toned family drama. In an interview with TVInsider, the show's star and producer William Baldwin explained how, when he pitched the show to Netflix with the writing team, he made clear that he wanted the freedom to explore difficult topics. Said Baldwin, "I just started talking about why this type of programming is important to me and the show really is about what it means to be a family today."
I told them we need to have the latitude to get into some hard-hitting stuff because we’re attempting to define what it means to be a family today and you need to get into all the stuff that kids get into. You need to get into possibly violence, definitely sex, definitely drugs, kids getting arrested. It’s going to be a modern day, contemporary look at what parents and children are struggling with.
Northern Rescue tells the story of John West, a father of three teenagers, who suddenly and unexpectedly loses his wife Sarah, throwing the family into chaos. When he lands a job as a search and rescue commander in his small, rural northern hometown, he decides to uproot his family from their hectic city life and settle into the comfort of home. Of course, there's more than a little culture shock involved for the kids, which causes your typical teen angst and rebellion. Rounding out the family unit is Charlie Anders, John's sister and the kids' aunt, played by Kathleen Robertson who viewers may recognize from Beverly Hills 90210. She steps in to help the family navigate its new surroundings. If you're getting major Everwood vibes here — me too.
Northern Rescue also explores the pitfalls of deeply entrenched "divide and conquer" gender roles in parenting, Baldwin adds in the TVInsider interview. He describes John as an "alpha type" and the family breadwinner who finds himself at a complete loss when his wife, who attended the household duties, dies. "I lose my wife and it’s like losing your arm," he explains. "It lends itself to some real powerful drama, but a lot of humor and hijinks, as well."
The series was made in Canada as a joint effort between Netflix and CBC. Northern Rescue is currently streaming on both CBC Gem, the broadcasting company's digital streaming platform, and on Netflix for international viewers.