Deadliest Warrior

Common Sense Media says

Educational, but bloodier than other ancient-warrior shows.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show's overall point is to scientifically and objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of some of history's toughest fighters. It's not out to send messages, per se, but younger viewers certainly could come away feeling that violence has been glorified.

Positive role models

The combatants do their job well, and there's a good-natured rivalry between them. Still, they're there to fight, and that's about it.


Plenty of action. The show painstakingly evaluates various weapons by testing them on targets and lifelike human dummies. Skulls are smashed, and blood oozes from some pretty nasty gashes. The climax of each episode is a staged fight to the death between the two contenders.

Not applicable

No swearing, but lots of trash-talking.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series about historical tough guys -- which combines history, science, and combat -- is gorier than its History Channel cousins. Modern experts evaluate specialized weapons and fighting techniques by attacking targets and lifelike human dummies. Some of the tests can be somewhat gruesome; fake heads are smashed in, and blood oozes (or gushes) from some pretty nasty looking injuries. Many staged battles show combatants in action, and these simulated fights to the death can be pretty intense.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Who's tougher, an Apache warrior or a Roman gladiator? Since they lived in different centuries and on separate continents, it's hard to say for sure, but it's a great topic for late-night bull sessions, on par with Godzilla vs. King Kong, or plain M&Ms vs. peanut. DEADLIEST WARRIOR can't settle the issue when it comes to the best chocolate treat, but it's developed an interesting format for comparing ancient fighters. Martial artists and highly trained weapons experts are invited into a special lab to test the weapons and fighting techniques of each hypothetical combatant. The data is fed into a computer simulation that determines who would prevail, and the results are shown in simulated -- and sometimes graphic -- staged fights to the death.

Is it any good?


The show has an interesting premise, and the science is both rigorous and entertaining. The series calls in some of the world's top experts in very specialized fighting techniques, and the damage they're able to dish out on dummies is intimidating -- shock and awe, with daggers, bows, and swords.

It can also get a bit gory. Yes, they're only models, but watching a battle axe smash a faux skull to bits -- complete with gooey bits of brain-like matter splattering across the room -- can be a bit unsettling. It's not the realistic "torture porn" of some contemporary horror films, but these images are still quite graphic. The series, which airs on the frat-dude demographic network Spike, is definitely aimed at an older audience than similarly themed shows on the more kid-friendly History Channel. Still, it's a competent blend of education and action and a decent way to settle a late-night bet about history's toughest fighters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this show compares to other historical series. Do you think it's educational?

  • Are the fights too graphic, or is it realistic? What's the impact of seeing violent images on TV?

  • Which fighter do you think would prevail? Do you think the tests are a good way to evaluate fighting skills?

TV details

Cast:Armand Dorian, David Wenham, Geoff Desmoulin
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Deadliest Warrior was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byboltman April 17, 2009

You Cannot Save Us...Only We Can Do That

To blogging Dads and Moms, get real! Stop trying to protect us by using words like "gory" to describe the show. It's way LESS gory than five minutes on HALO or GT4. Does it make us into murderers? I went online and looked up the stuff about kids and violence. Turns out, colleges have studied it, and even young kids know the diff between reality and this kind of TV. NO backwash. If anything, DEADLIEST does the opposite. I am from a trailer park like all my friends. We were all going to enlust in the Army after high school. After we saw what these poor homies go thru, no way, the Army can stick the katana where the sun doesn't shine!
Kid, 12 years old January 6, 2011
This show is awesome!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written bybucknellbison June 15, 2010

Perfect for teens and older

The greatest show I've ever seen. Educational and its perfect for anyone mature enough to see violence. I highly recommend watching this awesome show!


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