Parents' Guide to

Butterfly Effect

By Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Docuseries ponders alternative histories; war, weapons.

Butterfly Effect Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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Teaching history is difficult, and Butterfly Effect reminds us why. We have an overwhelming amount of access to knowing what's going on right now, so it's often not enough to keep students interested in history by simply giving context for what happened in the past. Students have to understand why these events are relevant to today, and what they mean for imagining the future they want to see. Butterfly Effect is successful in encouraging curiosity, and it is easy to picture the show being used as supplemental material in classrooms as well as a thought-provoking family show. It should be said that Butterfly Effect isn't the most emotionally compelling show; the narration is rather monotone, and the silhouette reenactments are visually repetitive. That said, the show is kept engaging through exciting 3D modeling sequences that allow viewers to imagine historical events in an entirely new way. Also, the even-keeled storytelling is effective as well.

The goal of Butterfly Effect is to inform viewers about real-life events. Avoiding sensationalizing these events makes for a powerful teaching tool. While there is a time and place for educational media that uses storytelling to target the audience's emotions, there is a place for purely informative media as well. Butterfly Effect is presenting information and asking questions, then letting the viewer form their own opinion about what these events mean for their view of the world. The show clearly lays out its educational goal and meets it in every episode.

TV Details

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