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TV Spotlight
program reviews
7th HEAVEN

Moral Rating: take caution
Primary Audience: Teen to Adult
Genre: Drama
Length: 1 hr.

Show Synopsis: (from the producer): From Spelling Television and Brenda Hampton comes "7th Heaven", a critically acclaimed family drama about a minister and his wife sharing love, laughter and life with their seven children.

Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks of '7th Heaven'Chronicling the many complex problems of growing up in the world today, the young adults on 7th Heaven are exposed to issues ranging from dating crises to teen suicide, sibling rivalry to gang violence. Storylines touched on such topics as the Holocaust, hate crimes, violence in schools, drug use, vandalism, drinking and driving, teen pregnancy and homelessness. The series has received numerous awards, including honors from the Parents Television Council, The Media Project's Shine Awards, Entertainment Industries Council's Prism Awards, Viewers Voice, Anti-Defamation League, Film Advisory Board, the Academy of Religious Broadcasting, Kids Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards and the TV Guide Awards.

Now in its sixth season, 7th Heaven stars Emmy Award-nominated Stephen Collins (The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, The First Wives Club, Sisters), Catherine Hicks (Peggy Sue Got Married, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), Barry Watson (Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Sorority Boys), David Gallagher (Phenomenon), Jessica Biel (Summer Catch, Ulee's Gold), Beverley Mitchell (Phenom) Mackenzie Rosman and Adam LaVorgna (Brooklyn Bridge).

Viewer Comments    (No further comments are being accepted at this time.)

Questionable—While I believe this show is meant to be indicative of Christian values and morals, one is to be aware of the fruit. No. 1 the pastor, never uses the Word of god for any kind of advice, and is as a matter of fact very uneducated in the matter and he shouldn't be a pastor. His children, especially the oldest son Matt; is a very desperate male always on the look-out for a girlfriend never using any discretion consideration and all things suddenly are compromisable as far as his Christian values. Lately I am more tempted to believe as he has gotten older, he has forsaken his faith, for lust. Mary has become a very rebellious individual, very self absorbed and manipulative, not really a behavior we would want our children to pick up. I guess Mary has never really grasped hold of the Christian values or lifestyle the family is apparently trying to portray. It isn't considered indecent television, but as is true in our world today, Christians have come to a compromising state with the world and subtly the message is it's okay to walk in the world as long as nobody gets hurt. But that only works for a little while. Or does it? As we see, by our example of Matt and Mary's , compromise comes with a high price and in the long run somebody is paying even though it isn't personally effecting them, the ones who are compromising.
   —Elizabeth

Avoid—I echo most of the other comments regarding this show's characters and the obvious lack of morals. The latest story line about Matt marrying a Jewish girl contains scenes where Matt is ready to renounce Christianity and convert to Judaism. I find it outrageous that his mother cannot understand why her husband would object to such apostasy. Clearly this show has sunk to a new moral low. It should drop the pretense of a pastor and his family because you could easily substitute any other American vocation.
   —Bill Roth, age 46

Questionable—I am an Orthodox Jew, and as an Orthodox Jew I find myself having similar morals as a devout Christian. I find 7th Heaven to be anything but a realistic depiction of the life of a preacher. Additionally, I resent the fact that this so called "family oriented" show is stuffed in our face with such a false label. How is it moral for: 1) A wife to constantly berate her husband? - ESPECIALLY in front of the kids! 2) Boys and Girls to be so crazed about the opposite sex, its a miracle they can think about anything else!! Seriously, the Camden's eldest son chases anything wearing a skirt! And the girls are so rowdy, this show does not present itself (at least to me) as a purveyor of morals, nor as an accurate depiction of a ministers life. 3) What is the rush to have an episode coming to the defense of a Muslim girl? Are we supposed to feel bad for the Arabs in our country - MORE than the victims of 9/11. I find that MISPLACED emotion and a lack of fairness to the real IMPORTANT issues of today. If the Muslims are truly ALL great people (like the show attempts to intimidate us into thinking) why was there NOT EVEN ONE Muslim preacher to condemn the acts of 9/11? And you can't count those that said they felt bad for the victims, BUT then blamed America for the attacks in the same sentence. AM I CORRECT HERE?
   —Jay Wechsler, age 25, non-Christian

Questionable—Although my wife and daughter have enjoyed watching this show for sometime now, mostly for lack of anything better, I find it to be a very weak portrayal of a protestant minister's family life. It is nothing more than Hollywood's twist on what they think it is or should be. For instance, how many protestant ministers do you know whose wife serves dinner wine? Problem with this show is that some non-believers may watch and get the wrong impression of what a Christian family is really all about.
   —Chris F., age 44

Usually Ok—I find this show interesting, partly because I'm a ministers son, partly due to the concept of having a series about a christian family. I'm impressed with the accuracy of the events the children have to endure, and the duties that they have because of their fathers profession. The main problem with the show is the goodness of the family, even though their fathers a minister that does not mean that the children become christians. I was happy to see when issues such as girl/boyfriends arose they could turn ugly. I would say this is a good show to watch with the whole family, a show about a family that talks openly about problems even though the teenagers should have more hormones and be slightly more rebellious.
   —Tobias Elfving, age 23

Questionable—When the show first premiered, I was excited about a "wholesome family show." However, in the past year, I find the characters all becoming involved in one “crisis” after another of a questionable moral nature. Is Mom just having dinner with an old high school friend??? (and why did she wear a short dress with a deep “v” cut). Mary is bad - she trashes her high school gym, lies, steals, cheats, dates questionable boys and now is being shipped off to the East coast. Simon dates questionable girls; his relationships are way too serious for a young high school boy; he hangs out with questionable friends… Lucy is curious about sex, tries to pressure her boyfriend into having sex, so she can lose her virginity… Ruthie, the youngest, tells a lie, and does not feel forgiven. A whole episode involved her traveling to different area churches in search of the answer. For a pastors family, I find this group of people lacking in a lot of faith, prayer, and moral values. None of the characters ever refer to trusting in God, praying, asking for forgiveness. None of the children seem to have foundational values, but are thrown via “Hollywood” into questionable circumstances. I am not saying that good, christian children don't occasionally cross a boundary, but no where to the degree as portrayed in this soap opera drama. How sad that a good idea has succumbed to Hollywood scripts…
   —Linda Zyla, age 40

Avoid—When this show began to air, my wife and I were excited. We watched with great interest for the first season. But I must say I was cautiously optimistic. This was, after all, the latest offering from Aaron Spelling, a man whose strategy is proven. The first season or two of his shows always appear to be family/teen oriented looks at the way humans enter into and maintain relationships. But before too long, there's a drug problem, a rape, an adulterous affair, or some other "real life" event that is critically acclaimed, and the next thing you know, the women are half dressed and the men are jumping from bed-to-bed. Spelling seems to have done it again. Don't be fooled by the "minister and his family" spin, this show is just another prime time soap.
   —Steve Thomas, age 32

Questionable—I doubt a pastor's children would all live and lack such morals. The girls on the show are boy crazy, and the boys are always involved in some girl dilemma. There are small children on the show, but they are not really in the story line. It revolves around Rev. Camden and his family. The teenage children are out of control, and even though the Eric Camden is a Reverend, God is rarely mentioned and very briefly. Not what you would expect from a show about a preacher and his family.
   —Jessica, age 26

Questionable—Although, one of the few shows we can sit down and watch as a family, I have some strong misgivings about this show. First, I have seen various members of the Camden family, say things like "I actually prayed". Come on, is that how we as Christians want to be portrayed? And when the middle daughter said she wanted to follow in her dad's footsteps and be a preacher, was there any mention of Jesus? NO!! There, in fact, is VERY RARELY a mention of God at all. All this show “teaches” is that to be a Christian you merely have to be nice. If that is not the biggest [lie] …I don't know what is!
   —Carrie, age 35

Questionable—While "7th Heaven" started out as a good family show, I'm afraid it's gone down hill. For a pastor's family, it's about as dysfunctional as it gets. All of the kids (with the exception of the youngest, as far as I know) are obsessed with dating, and Simon, the youngest son, has tried drugs. The parents are usually clueless and assume that their kids are doing the right thing. And sometimes, even after they find out their kids are doing something wrong, they act like they're almost afraid to punish them. Also, God is hardly ever mentioned. I liked the show for the first couple of seasons, but I haven't watched it for a year because of these problems. Still, it is more moral than a lot of other prime time shows that are on now.
   —Melissa E., age 19

Questionable—I would question the realism of the show about a protestant minister who almost never uses the God's name, and rarely prays or exhibits behavior that exemplifies God like behavior. Add that to children that are constantly bickering, lying, and cheating on each other and to their parents that you wonder if these kids were raised in a barn. The show has an outside veneer of Christianity but you can never tell by looking at it that this home has a God centered emphasis. A better choice is for families is Promised Land.
   —Ralph de Leon, age 41

Usually Ok—I think 7th Heaven is a big step for Hollywood to take. I know that they don't talk much about God and prayer in the show, but it sure is a blessing to have such a family show in the lineup on Monday nights. My whole family enjoys this show and my daughter who is 13 and son who is 15 rate this among their favorite showS. They do not miss an episode. This show has family values and morals. The mom is a stay at home mom who takes care of her family. Does the laundry and cleans the house. And the dad is a minister who is always there for his wife and children. Gee isn't it nice to see that life is really great for people who spend time with their family. Touched by an Angel, Promised Land, Early Edition and this show are the only ones our family watches. Hollywood should wake up and realize that people do like wholesome shows. And I think that Americans are ready for shows that they can laugh, cry and learn from.
   —D. Thompson, age 43

Questionable—I have mixed feelings about this show being rated totally rated as "Usually OK". I would rate this show between “U” and “C” This show about Presbyterian minister and his family in part is good. But, I wonder why there isn't much association to Jesus or God? Yes, some episodes are great, but some leave me feeling that there has to be more to being a minister. I'd like to see the pastor and his wife reaching out more to God. I am not totally convinced that this show should be rated "Usually OK" without putting a caution with it.
   —Suzie Warriner, age 48

Usually Ok—Although I truly love this show, I try to remind myself while watching that this is Hollywood's portrayal of a pastor's family and not reality. I have seen Eric Camden put himself in situations on this show that are very inappropriate (counseling a single woman at the church, alone, with the door closed). On the other hand, considering what Hollywood is dishing out these days, this show is about as tame as they come.
   —Jody, age 33

This show is about a Presbyterian minister and his wife and five children and how they deal with everyday life. With three of the kids being teenagers, the topics can cover things such as dating and drugs, but rarely in such detail that younger viewers couldn't watch and learn from it. The antics of the younger ones always make for a humorous story line, and the writers always seem to come up with a central theme or lesson to be learned that fits each member of the family. Although theological issues are not covered much, even though [the] dad is a minister, I always look forward with anticipation of how they as a family deal with their struggles. It's been one of our family's favorite shows, as well as others we know in the Christian community. Highly recommended for all ages.
   —C.H., age 44

I stumbled across this show a couple years back and I am always comfortable watching it with my family and six year old. It is based on a family -- yes both parents -- mother's main role is to raise her children and the father is preacher. The parents are usually realistic as they deal with their college student on down to their kindergartner. (They are also expecting twins). Although it can be a little on the "happily ever after" side of things, it does do justice to dealing with drugs, alcohol, lying, stealing, fighting, sex, and so on rather realistically and based on Christ's teachings (in my view). This is definitely a gem amid a world of very little positive television programming.
   —Denise Matheson, age 30

This program is thoroughly enjoyable. The characters, although from a “religious” family, are portrayed as normal people with personal flaws, facing very real situations in today's world. Christian morals are the answer to the dilemmas faced on each show, and the parents allow their children to make their own choices, thereby allowing them to learn from their experiences. My only negative comment is that God and prayer are not mentioned often enough as the place to go for answers.
   —M. Candelaria, age 40

Young people express their opinions…

Usually Ok—I would just like to address the people who say that the portrayal of a minister's family on this show is not realistic. I am friends with the son of a minister and he is much far worse than the kids on 7th Heaven. He drinks and smokes pot regularly, he has had premarital sex, and has stolen hundreds of dollars worth of things from stores. His parents are totally oblivious to everything he does. He has never been in trouble with the law and most people think that he is just a nice young man. I just thought that would shed some light on the subject of 7th Heaven.
   —Mark, age 16, non-Christian

Usually Ok—This is a pretty good show to watch, compared to the other shows on the tv. It's about a family, dealing with real problems, and of course its not going to be like the Brady Bunch or Leave it to Beaver. Serious issues and problems are tackled on this show. The girls and their older brother do date a lot, but who said that there was anything wrong with dating? In some episodes the kids get into trouble, or do something rebellious but towards the end of the hour they learn from their mistakes. The only problem that I have, is that for a family that has a reverend they don't really talk about God much or christianity. Again this isn't Leave it to Beaver, serious issues are tackled, and by the end the characters usually learn their mistakes. It's a pretty good family show to watch, and its pretty “clean” compared to the other shows on tv.
   —Wendy, age 18, non-Christian

Usually Ok—Well,this show is supposedly about a pastor and his life with his family… but I seldom see him acting like a pastor. There are only a few brief moments of him preaching in church. As for his children, they are usually up to something…not to mention Lucy and Mary is always fighting over the same guy and even little Ruthy is talking about boys! It is quite watchable, but for something associated with Christianity…this is not worth the watch.
   —Grace, age 17

Usually Ok—I would schedule events in my life around this show to be able to watch it. It is one of the only shows on television today that provides many real problems that are answered in real ways. There is never any unnecessary language, sex, or violence, yet it brings out laughter and tears in good wholesome ways. The Camden family is a typical "nuclear family" that deals with real life problems in the way that Christians, or even just NORMAL families should. That is not to say that I agree all the time with the ways that some things are approached, but that is quite insignificant. This show has many beneficial values for people of all ages and will leave viewers pondering questions, coming to long awaited conclusions, with a stomach ache from laughing so hard, or asking for a Kleenex to wipe those “invisible” tears. I would recommend this show to EVERYONE and can see why it is becoming one of the fastest growing television shows!
   —Angela, age 17

Usually Ok—As the daughter of ministers, I feel that "7th Heaven" is fairly realistic. My parents put the same restrictions on me that Mary and Lucy have, except that Mary and Lucy go too far in their relationships with boys sometimes--they spend a great amount of time talking about boys. Sometimes I also think that there is too much kissing among the older kids and their boy/girlfriends since most Christian teenagers I know tend to stay away from too much kissing because in their effort as pure as they can. In addition, the Camden kids don't seem to be extremely strong Christians with strong morals like most ministers' kids. As for the rarity of mentioning God, I think that the show is the way it is so that it can maintain a wider audience; sometimes you can truly see God's work in the Camden family because it is indirectly implied. Overall, though, I find "7th Heaven" uplifting and encouraging and believe that it always does a good job of relating today's issues to the audience.
   —Grace, age 16