History Of The TV Ratings

Before knowing what TV-MA means on Netflix, let us first have a brief look at the history of ratings. The rating system for films was developed earlier in 1968, but its TV show peer was not launched for the next 28 years. In 1996, after the acceptance of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, leaders in the entertainment sector committed to offering a similar system. NCTA, MPAA, and NAB led the initiative and the system was to be used on both broadcast and cable TV programs, excluding news, sports, and ads.

In December same year, the TV Parental Guidelines were declared. The system formally rolled out on January 1, 1997. It was inspired by the movie rating system. A reviewed version of the system, having six sections, was launched on August 1, 1997. Apart from the ratings, the plan was improved with a set of five content descriptors.

The logos for each descriptor and rating were adopted. In addition, it was claimed that the rating symbol will be shown for 15 seconds at the beginning of every episode of a rated program. Lastly, on March 12, 1998, the FCC accepted the proposed rating system.

What Classifies a Series as TV-MA on Netflix?

Now that you know what ratings are, let us proceed to know what TV-MA means on Netflix. TV-MA (Mature Audience only) symbolizes a show or series created only for adult audience viewership. The TV-MA tells that a specific TV show has graphic sex scenes, foul language, explicit violence, or a combination of these elements. This rating is usually viewed and compared as similar to the NC-17 rating and R ratings assigned by the MPAA. For instance, series such as Money Heist, Dark, The Umbrella Academy, and Black Mirror are all rated TV-MA. Additionally, animated series such as The Simpsons, Bo Jack Horseman, and Family Guy, which by nature appear as suitable for children owing to their animated genre, are all rated TV-MA.

These shows have elements of violence, sexual picturization and dialogues, and jokes offensive to good morals or taste. The TV series by Netflix labeled with the TV-MA rating, normally perform best and create the most revenue. Owing to this, such shows constantly have the highest filming budgets, and new adult-based series are in production constantly. Honest speaking, the majority of the viewers are adults, and hence the production of more mature content is logical.

what does tv ma mean on netflix:What Classifies a Series as TV-MA on Netflix?

What Is The Difference Between TV-MA, Rated R, and Unrated?

TV-MA is developed by the FCC and is a television rating level. This rating is used by different “broadcasters” outside of federally controlled broadcasts. This rating is the most extreme of the ratings. Shows with this rating usually contain frequent use of profanity, dark humor, strong sexual themes, and/or intense violence (may include blood and gore).

On the other hand, R is a film-level rating from the MPAA. It is above PG-13 and below NC-17. The PG-13 rating indicates some elements might be inappropriate for kids under 13. NC-17 means no one below 17 must be allowed irrespective of parental assistance—normally due to extreme sexual visuals. R is right between these two ratings and needs that anybody below the age of 17 has a guardian or parent accompanying them.

TV-MA and R are fairly the same in how they are rated. The materials include violence, language, nudity, substance abuse, and sexual content. If a movie reaches a specific threshold for most of the below-mentioned categories, it will get an R/TV-MA rating.

  • For violence, if there is pervasive/extreme violence or visible gore, a TV show or film will normally get a TV-MA/R rating.
  • For language, the use of swearing words at various times normally will give a movie an R rating, but it is not guaranteed. For TV shows, it is believed that the use of swear words once will instantly give it a TV-MA rating.
  • For nudity, it is believed that any shot with any visible male and female reproductive parts will instantly grant a rank over R/TV-MA. PG-13 movies appear to allow some of such shots but only in non-sexual contexts, but that might possibly lead to a TV show being granted TV-MA. For a movie to be rated R there usually requires to be a sexual aspect to the nudity and/or pervasive nudity.
  • For substance abuse, we do not know of any television show or film rated as high as TV-MA or R plainly for drug use. But substance abuse movies tend to go in tandem with movies that use violence, profanity, and/or sexual content.
  • For sexual content, this appears to go in tandem with nudity. The more nudity shown during a sex scene, the more possibly it is to be rated R/TV-MA, or above.

what does tv ma mean on netflix:What Is The Difference Between TV-MA, Rated R, and Unrated?

Unlike the other two ratings, Unrated normally just means that the television show or film has not been rated by the authorized group, whomever that might be. This can be a version of a rated-R film or an infomercial on QVC with extended sexual content, nudity, foul language, or violence. It can also be an independent movie not rated by the MPAA, or anything else that has not received a rating. The only thing users can know certainly about an “unrated” movie or show is that it has not been rated, so they do not know how far the episode will go. It can be completely family friendly or one of the most twisted, extreme, explicit sex, drug, violence or profanity-filled movies ever seen.

What Are Content Descriptors?

Though the different category rating system may be believed sufficient, it also boasts a set of content descriptors that provide more comprehensive info on the content of the TV show. These are L, S, V, FV, and D. Below is a brief summary.

  • The L rating is there for coarse language. It is normally present at the TV-14 level, although some TV-MA content shows it as well if foul language is used on the show extensively.
  • TV shows with the S descriptor contain sexual content. Users are more possible to find it on TV-MA and TV-14 movies and shows as compared to anywhere else.
  • D descriptor is for suggestive dialogue. A number of TV-14 shows have this descriptor shown next to their rating. Suggestive dialogue may comprise sexual themes and innuendo otherwise inappropriate for younger viewers.
  • The V descriptor indicates violence. Shows marked with V feature graphics and frequent scenes of violence. In addition to this, drug and alcohol abuse fall under this descriptor.
  • VF descriptor denotes fantasy violence. Movies and shows that have fantasy creatures and giant robots often have the VF descriptor.

what does tv ma mean on netflix:What Are Content Descriptors?

What Are Some Popular TV MA Shows On Netflix?

The TV-MA rating is actually just meant to warn users as adults, that the show they are about to view has some content that is expectedly not all that suitable for an audience below the age of 17. But actually, there is a fairly wide spectrum when it comes to TV MA-rated shows. For instance, users can probably agree that there is a pretty huge difference between Ted Lasso and Game Of Thrones. Yet they are both rated TV-MA.

what does tv ma mean on netflix:What Are Some Popular TV MA Shows On Netflix?

To offer you a sense of the kind of content that comes with the TV-MA rating, below is a list of some popular TV-MA shows:

  • Breaking Bad
  • Game of Thrones
  • Ozark
  • Better Call Saul
  • Rick and Morty
  • Family Guy
  • Bosch: Legacy
  • Severance
  • Dexter
  • Sense8
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • The Witcher
  • Outlander
  • The Sopranos
  • The Walking Dead
  • Squid Game
  • The Simpsons
  • The Last Kingdom

Something else to take into consideration is that all of these series get a single blanket rating for the entire series, but episode-to-episode content can differ extremely.

How To Download TV-MA Content From Netflix For Offline Viewing?

Now that you know what TV-MA means on Netflix, it is time to know how to download such content for offline viewing. Of course, users can download it from the app itself, but there are many limitations. Users cannot rely on the app since the movie or show can be removed from the platform at any time. Also, there are restrictions on the number of titles that can be downloaded at a time. In addition, the download feature only works on phones and tablets, not on PC or laptops.

To overcome these limitations and get the best offline viewing experience, it is recommended to use StreamFab Netflix Downloader. The tool is the best option that can be used to download not only TV-MA content but any content regardless of its rating from Netflix. Follow the below-detailed steps to know how to download content with StreamFab Netflix Downloader.

Step 1: Download and open the tool. Tap the VIP Services section on the left. Now, on the right, select Netflix from the list of streaming services.

what does tv ma mean on netflix:How To Download TV-MA Content From Netflix For Offline Viewing?

Step 2: Next, users can log in to their account and search for their favorite movie or show. Once you click on the web series, the tool will analyze the content. Once the analysis is finished, the tool will offer you different options to download the series.

what does tv ma mean on netflix:How To Download TV-MA Content From Netflix For Offline Viewing?

Step 3: Select the episode that you wish to download. Users can also download subtitles and change other settings, selecting the video quality, audio, and subtitle from the list. Once done, click on the Download Now option to begin downloading your video.

what does tv ma mean on netflix:How To Download TV-MA Content From Netflix For Offline Viewing?


How to prevent children from watching TV-MA shows on Netflix?

Users can set parental controls for separate profiles. Hence, if your kid is 15 years old, and you do not want your kid watching TV-MA content, you can set up a profile to ban TV-MA content.

Why are ratings present on Netflix?

The reason for ratings is to offer the users a basic idea about the nature of the content they are considering or about to watch. The ratings themselves indicate whether a specific movie or show is suitable for the viewing environment and the viewers.


In a nutshell, we just had a look at different types of ratings and what TV-MA means on Netflix. We also saw that users can download any show and movie from Netflix for offline viewing using Netflix video Downloader.