Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell TV Poster Image
Survivalist reenactments are informative but intense.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The idea that training and preparation are important when exploring the wild is reinforced. Also, humans are capable of incredible feats of strength and perseverance when under pressure.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Grylls is very skilled at survival and is a compelling teacher. The folks whose stories are related are praised for their strength and perseverance.


Dangerous and violent situations are discussed. Grylls recreates potentially dangerous moments; he is supported by a safety team. Images of severe injuries are visible. Discussions about death and dying are frequent.


Things like undressing down to one's underwear and peeing into a bag (with no nudity visible) are shown as ways to survive life threatening dangers.


Words like "hell" and "screwed" audible.


Bear Grylls clothing and gear is visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Survivors talk about doing drugs (marijuana,  cocaine, crystal meth) and how this contributed to their troubles.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bear Grylls: Escape from Hell is a docuseries featuring the survivalist recreating life-threatening situations that people have actually survived. It offers lots of teachable moments about what to do (and not to do) in these situations, but some of the stories, survivor accounts (which sometimes include drug use), and images of injuries, may be a bit much for young or sensitive viewers. Acts like undressing or urinating are shown (no nudity), but within a survival context. Despite the title, the language is pretty mild.

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What's the story?

BEAR GRYLLS: ESCAPE FROM HELL stars British survivalist Bear Grylls retracing the steps of people from around the world who survived life-threatening situations. From trekking for days sub-zero temperatures on snowy mountains without food or water, to trying to avoid dying in the heat of the Sahara, Grylls purposely puts himself in some of the deadly situations folks once found themselves in to understand what the experience was like. During each recreation, he notes some of the mistakes they made, including those who put them in these precarious positions. He also reveals the various things they did to increase their survival, including finding ways to stay hydrated, warm, and fed, while navigating effectively. Throughout it all, interviews with the survivors offer insight into what it was like to fight for their lives, and how they found the strength to keep going until they were rescued.

Is it any good?

Escape from Hell offers an interesting mix of survivor stories and life-saving tips as Grylls reenacts some of the most difficult moments of each dire event while discussing how best to handle them in order to increase one's chance of survival. While some of these moments are designed to allow him to experience the event, most of them are used as teachable moments, and provide instructions and recommendations for surviving seemingly impossible situations.

Grylls uses these opportunities to honor the courage, strength, and perseverance demonstrated by each of the people featured here. But using these stories as a way to highlight the survivalist's skills sometimes feels a little exploitative. Nonetheless, while the stories featured here make for some nerve-racking entertainment, there's also a lot to be learned here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reality shows like this one. Are reality shows that feature stories about people surviving difficult or tragic events meant to educate people? To entertain them? How realistic are the reenactments featured here?

  • Bear Grylls has starred in several shows with a survival theme. What makes the shows different from one another? How has Grylls developed his "brand." What else is he selling besides his expertise?

  • Did you know that the most important way to survive a dangerous situation is not to panic? What are some other basic things everyone should know to help them get out of a bad or dangerous position?

TV details

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