Beyond Survival with Les Stroud

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Beyond Survival with Les Stroud TV Poster Image
Survival expert's visits to ancient tribes offer family fun.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show promotes conservation of both natural areas and the threatened lifestyles of indigenous people who often live off the land. However, the way that Stroud tends to glorify these simple lifestyles -- downplaying the value of modern technology that could significantly change the way his subjects live -- could be seen as slightly patronizing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stroud is a great ambassador to these rarely seen indigenous hunter-gatherer tribes. He's respectful of their customs and eager to learn their ways, especially their food-gathering techniques. He listens carefully when warned of danger and tries to absorb the techniques that have often been handed down from generation to generation.

Violence

Some scenes show indigenous tribesmen hunting for game.

Sex

Some of the indigenous people featured on the show wear loincloths and other revealing clothing, but none of it is sexual in nature.

Language

Stroud sometimes swears mildly, using words like “suckers” or unfinished phrases like “son of a …”

Consumerism

The show promotes Stroud’s personal brand as a well-known adventurer and survival expert.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Stroud sometimes tries local intoxicants -- such as chewing a betel nut -- and then describes how they affect him.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality show -- which follows veteran survival expert Les Stroud as he visits some of the world's few remaining indigenous tribes to see how they've learned to survive in some of the most remote (and often most hostile) parts of the world -- is a great pick for families of older tweens and up. Stroud participates in the tribes' traditional rituals (including hunting and, at times, partaking in some local intoxicants) and documents the fascinating cultures. Stroud’s subjects will seem very, very different to young 21st-century viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byPlague September 3, 2010

Beyond Survival with Les Stroud

This show is great for the family due to Les's undying respect to everyone he meets. Plus his determination to live by the tribe's customs will not go... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Veteran outdoorsman Les Stroud has made a career out of demonstrating how to live in the wild; in BEYOND SURVIVAL WITH LES STROUD, he visits some of the world's most remote places to meet indigenous tribes that have perfected those skills over centuries ... and certainly have a few things to teach him. But, despite its name, this is less a show about survival tips and more a look at vanishing cultures. These tribes -- in Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, the Kalahari desert, and other isolated locations -- live and hunt using ancient techniques and are often threatened by the encroaching developing world. The show's focus is how these tribes survive in their remote (and often hostile) environments -- how they find food, brave the elements, and fend off dangerous predators -- but the subtext is whether these cultures can survive in the modern world.

Is it any good?

Stroud is at his best when explaining survival skills like hunting, fishing, and trapping. This is his realm, and though he may not know the tribes’ specific techniques, he can discuss how they work and what makes them effective in specific situations. It’s also fun to watch him participate in rarely seen tribal rituals, especially when they require him to use some of the local intoxicants. He’s game for anything, and when he gets dizzy, he lets us know.

But Stroud is a survivalist, not an anthropologist. His descriptions of primitive hunting techniques are interesting and informative, but at other times he does little more than offer play-by-play commentary of what he’s seeing -- which adds little value, since its the same thing the viewers are seeing. His earlier show, Survivorman, focused on his strength: outdoor skills. By focusing on rarely seen tribes, Beyond Survival moves away from Stroud's strength. The indigenous tribes are fascinating, but Stroud’s anthropological analyses aren't always that enlightening.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about indigenous cultures. Do you think these hunter-gather societies live a “purer” lifestyle than our harried, wired lives? Or do you think they would welcome some of the modern conveniences that we take for granted?

  • Would you want to visit these tribes, even for a brief period, to experience a hunter-gatherer life? How do you think they would react if they visited a modern city?

TV details

For kids who love learning about the world

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