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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 historical documentary series is all about conflict and war. Scenes of battles fought in the sky are re-created through computer graphics. The show also uses archival footage of soldiers involved in other missions (some of which involve using weapons and shooting guns), but dead bodies and wounds don't appear on screen. The show's perspective is almost entirely from an American/Western point of view, with limited time devoted to other groups' take on things.
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What's the story?
In DOGFIGHTS, viewers revisit wars and conflicts -- from World War II through Vietnam -- to learn about the detailed exploits of battle aircraft like P-40 Tomahawks and F-86 Sabres. Using top-notch computer animation, each episode brings famous air battles to life. Viewers will feel like they're right up in the sky with the planes as pilots make tactical decisions to outwit and outfight the enemy. The narrator dramatically details each element of the fight, building tension and educating viewers on the dynamics involved in this type of warfare. Expert historians, authors, and military personnel also provide plenty of technical information: including how a pilot harnesses the power of the G-forces to best beat his opponent and what type of ammunition, armor, and horsepower accompanies each type of plane. Some archival footage is also used, which gives the graphics some gravitas.
Is it any good?
Fans of military history, engineering, tactical planning, and -- especially -- aircraft will probably enjoy the show. Just know that it has an almost unilaterally American perspective and gung-ho attitude toward war. And since the focus is on tactics and strategy, not much time is spent on the fact that people are dying when their planes are shot down.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's approach to its topic. Who's the target audience? Who do you think would be most interested in watching these re-created battles? Does it matter that the subjects aren't approached from multiple/differing points of view? Who else would you be interested in hearing from? Families can also discuss the fact that the show makes little mention of death. Does that make it easier for viewers to focus on technology rather than politics?