A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this fascinating series explores controversial scientific theories about Earth's evolution and the cyclical extinction of its inhabitants. Kids could be confused by the speculative nature of what they hear and potentially frightened by the narrator's constant references to impending doom and death. Some scenes show CGI animals attacking and eating their prey, and others illustrate how changing atmospheric elements could have killed some species. It's not for young kids, but the show's stunning CGI makes ancient geology and evolution as enticing as any thriller, so it's a great choice for parents, tweens, and teens.
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What's the story?
ANIMAL ARMAGEDDON takes viewers on a CGI-enhanced tour of Earth as it existed during significant eras in its evolutionary history. Each of the shows eight episodes explores the geologic appearance, atmospheric elements, and spectrum of life at a certain point on Earth's timeline -- and then explains how monumental catastrophes like cosmic gamma ray bursts and massive meteor strikes wiped out nearly every species alive at the time. Scientists also offer insight into how a few resilient inhabitants managed to survive each disaster and evolve to secure a future for the planet's population.
Is it any good?
If you think ancient geology and fossilized biology are about as interesting as, well, a box of rocks, then you've never experienced anything like this impressive series. Even if you can't recall a single fact from high school science class, you'll emerge from each hour-long episode with a general idea of Earth's make-up, its prominent inhabitants, and the theories behind the monumental disasters that threatened life's survival at various turning points in the planet's history. The series' CGI literally brings the ancient past to life, giving viewers an amazing visual image of life long ago.
That said, there's good reason to save Animal Armageddon for after the youngest kids are in bed. Voice-over narration repeatedly refers to impending doom (terms like "blasting the atmosphere apart" and "burns them to death" are tossed around lightly, and an entire episode explores possible future extinctions) in tones that could frighten kids who can't grasp the timeline to which it refers. The inherent speculation that exists in the show's content -- which is based on sometimes controversial theories -- could also be confusing for kids, so save this eye-opening series for tweens and teens who can put the series' potentially troubling elements in context.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the methods that scientists use to develop and support their theories. How do they gather data so long after the actual event? How has modern technology changed how we can analyze ancient evidence? What do you think of the theories presented in this show? What alternative explanations for the same events have you heard? Does any theory seem more plausible to you than another? Why or why not?
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