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 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.
Talk to your kids 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?