Backyard Oil TV Poster Image

Backyard Oil



Oil digging reality is mild, but not much to interest kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Generally reinforces hard work, humor, and persistence.

Positive role models

Most drillers are hard workers, but the contractors and land owners are driven by the desire to make fast, big money. Some folks are flashy with their cash; others are more down-to-earth.

Not applicable

Some drillers argue that striking oil is better than sex. A landowner talks about getting plastic surgery on her breasts and butt if they find oil on her land.


The word "hell" is audible on occasion; "s--t" is bleeped.


The Chevy logo is clearly visible; logos for Buick, Rolls-Royce, Caterpiller, etc. aren't prominently displayed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Beer consumption and cigarette smoking is visible.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Backyard Oil is a lighthearted docuseries that shows the highs and lows of oil drilling in Kentucky. While workers and landowners use a bit of bleeped language and make a few mild references to sex, the show is generally mild, though kids won't likely be interested.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

BACKYARD OIL is a reality series that follows Appalachian oil men as they look to make it rich by finding crude oil in the hills of south central Kentucky. The series follows a handful of drilling contractors, including self-professed hillbillies John Rascal, a father-son team known as the Page boys, and Jimmy Riliford, who, along with his sidekick Mad Dog, are looking to make millions by finding the perfect locations to drill. While folks like Travis Coomer strike oil twice by drilling in their own back yard, others find themselves investing time, equipment, and cash into digs that yield nothing but water. It's a gamble, but one that can yield major results if luck is on their side.

Is it any good?


Backyard Oil offers a lighthearted, but interesting look at the way local oil drillers are attempting to capitalize on the increasing cost of oil, which includes bidding for leases to properties in order to drill, finding the correct spot to dig a hole, and using the right equipment to dig deep into the ground. The way landowners and oil contractors make (and lose) money off of these digs is also revealed.

There's a lot at stake, but the series contains lots of witty moments thanks to some colorful personalities. Watching folks use their particular methods for choosing drilling spaces, which range from using prayer to dowsing sticks (that pick up vibrations and lead you to wells), can be entertaining, too. But it also shows how much skill and luck is really necessarily in order to strike it rich.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about reality shows. What is the appeal of reality series that feature people doing specific jobs? Do you think these shows make some jobs seem more exciting than they really are? How do they do this?

  • Why do you think the folks who do these jobs agree to appear on reality shows? Money? Attention? Or to teach people a little bit more about what they do?

TV details

Premiere date:April 23, 2013
Cast:Jimmy Rilliford, John Rascal, Travis Coomer
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

This review of Backyard Oil was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Reality show has crude men going after crude oil.
  • Ick and shtick will appeal to older tweens and up.
  • Gritty gold mining reality series has some salty vocab.
  • "Dangerous job" show doesn't stand out from the crowd.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!