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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 show is all about finding real monsters in the real world. So anyone who's ever told their kids that there's nothing out there in the dark might have some explaining to do, because the host and his team take all of these legendary bogeymen very seriously. But despite the fact that they look hard for evidence, they don't find much -- though they do sometimes manage to run roughshod over the local residents. The good news is that other than the whole focus on monsters, there's not much to worry about content-wise.
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What's the story?
In DESTINATION TRUTH, host Josh Gates travels the globe investigating local paranormal and supernatural legends. Each episode starts with a quick summary of the featured legend, usually originating in a far-off locale, and then the team heads off to investigate. Gates likes to hit the ground running, so when he meets someone who might have seen evidence of, for example, a living dinosaur in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, his first response is to visit the site immediately and set up cameras. As a result, much of the show consists of clips of Gates and his comrades visiting unusual locations, which may or may not have been the site of some kind of odd sighting, sometime in the past.
Is it any good?
Investigators of the paranormal and supernatural tend to fall into two camps: either true believers hoping to find evidence to support their hard-to-swallow claims, or hardened cynics looking for ways to definitively debunk a crackpot theory. But Gates seems to have a much more simple agenda -- he just wants to have some fun. As he darts around the globe, trekking through jungles and visiting remote villages to check out various monster sightings, it's clear that he and his team are having a great time -- what's less clear is whether he's actually doing much to either prove or disprove these mysteries. The team doesn't exactly follow scientific methods, and -- what a shock! -- they don't usually find much.
Gates also can seem somewhat abrasive, especially when he's interacting with local residents in these remote locations. When a villager confirms that, yes, he did see a mermaid swimming off the local reef that very morning, it's obvious that he's feeling intimidated by the sudden appearance of several loud Americans hauling high-tech electronics. Clearly, this eyewitness account should be taken with a grain of salt, but Gates demands that the villager take them out to the spot right away. (Care to guess how many mermaids the team spots?) In the end, Destination Truth is probably more fun to make than it is to watch, but that doesn't mean tweens who are into this kind of thing won't enjoy it -- and the good news is that there's not too much parents need to worry about in terms of sex, violence, or language.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how different cultures view monsters. How are legends similar around the world? Is Bigfoot the same in Malaysia as in the Pacific Northwest? Is the mysterious Argentine sea monster Nahuelito related to the Loch Ness Monster? Why do so many people in so many places develop such similar legends? People can also talk about the best way to prove -- or disprove -- these legends. Is the absence of physical evidence "proof" that a story is fake? Is a TV show the best way to chronicle this kind of search? Does it make you take the topic more or less seriously? Why?