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 nature series definitely isn't for little kids, who will likely be frightened by the many scenes of dangerous animals like wolves, sharks, and crocodiles killing and devouring their prey. The narrator's panting breaths and hushed comments in the field ("I'm so scared," "This is just horrifying," etc.) -- while seemingly exaggerated for the sake of drama -- may also scare young viewers. Parents who tune in with older kids may want to remind them about the dangers of approaching any unfamiliar animals.
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What's the story?
In the nature series DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS, reptile expert Dr. Brady Barr travels the world to get personal with some of the world's deadliest animals, including snakes, electric eels, lions, and sharks. With help from other wildlife experts, Barr carefully devises a plan to safely study the animals up close -- often within an arm's length or so -- without disturbing their natural environment or causing them stress. In a segment about crocodiles, for example, Barr works with engineers to create a cage-like suit that will both disguise and protect him while he's in the company of the dangerous reptiles. Using a Kevlar-encased steel frame and replica crocodile skin and head, Barr creeps close enough to a mass of Nile crocodiles to affix a monitoring device to one (which he plans to use to research their adaptability to heat).
Is it any good?
Though Dangerous Encounters delivers plenty of close-ups of amazing animals in their natural elements, it's sometimes hampered by unnecessary build-up to the main event. To plan for his crocodile encounter, for example, Barr stakes out and studies grizzly bears, wraps himself in a wire cage next to a deer carcass to draw a pack of wolves, and jumps in the rodeo ring with an angry bull -- all in the name of research for creating the croc suit.
The series also suffers from Barr's tendency to be overly dramatic -- he seems to revel in reminding viewers that he's putting his life on the line for the sake of the show with hushed comments like, "I'm scared, but I've got to try" and "This is just horrifying." But the biggest issue, at least as far as kids are concerned, is the sometimes-disturbing scenes of animals killing and eating their prey. So pass on this one for little kids, and if you watch with tweens, try to be on hand so you can answer their questions about what they see.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about animal behavior. What is a carnivore? Which animals are carnivores? How do they hunt for and capture their prey? How do scientists study dangerous animals in their natural habitats? Kids: If you could observe any animal up close, which one would you choose? What would you like to learn from it? Parents, take this opportunity to tell your kids what they should do if they ever encounter a wild animal -- and remind them of the potential hazards of approaching one.