Dragons' Den

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Dragons' Den TV Poster Image
British reality is fun for business-savvy viewers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The Dragons often judge the competitors on a personal level, uttering comments like "I don't like you" and "You have a certain sort of arrogance." At times it seems they enjoy watching the competitors squirm under pressure. But when it comes to business knowledge and experience, the Dragons' criticisms of the entrepreneurs are harsh but fair. Emotions and tempers run high in tense situations. The cast of Dragons includes one female self-made millionaire.

Violence
Sex
Language

Infrequent use of expletives like "hell" and "s--t" (unbleeped).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British reality series isn't really intended for kids or tweens. Even though there's not much outright age-inappropriate content, the subject matter -- entrepreneurs vying for cash investments -- isn't likely to interest them, and they won't understand the reason behind the contestants' obvious angst or the millionaires' harsh judgments. Expect plenty of tension and some tears shed when the millionaires shatter contestants' dreams, as well as occasional strong language. All of that said, the series may intrigue older viewers who have an interest in business or entrepreneurship.

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What's the story?

British reality series DRAGONS' DEN brings would-be entrepreneurs face-to-face with five millionaires looking to invest in great ideas and inventions. Each hopeful participant has three minutes to propose an investment amount, pitch an idea (which include everything from a device that rocks babies to sleep and a performance arts festival to an umbrella vending machine), and display a sound business plan before fielding questions and accepting critiques from the investors, who are known as the Dragons. If any Dragons are willing to invest, they strike a deal with the entrepreneur for a share in the business' eventual profits in exchange for their cash.

Is it any good?

If Donald Trump sat in judgment over the contestants of American Inventor, the result would be something like Dragons' Den. Because the five millionaires are investing their own cash, they don't often mince words in their critiques of either the business pitches or the entrepreneurs themselves. When the Dragons think the contestants are being respectful of their expertise, they counter with personal digs. While their frustration is understandable in some cases, it's hard to not feel for the entrepreneurs, who often come across as desperate in the face of the seemingly omnipotent Dragons and their visible piles of cash.

The show clearly isn't the best pick for kids and tweens -- who would probably be bored by it anyway -- but teens and adults may enjoy the combination of drama and suspense we've all come to expect from reality series that offer common folk a possible change in fortune. And because these millionaires have made their own fortunes doing what the show's contestants are trying to do, their critiques are based on sound expertise and might just offer viewers real insight into successful entrepreneurial endeavors.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it takes to develop a project from the ground up. After watching this show, do you have a better grasp of what types of inventions or business ideas investors look for?

  • Do you have any ideas of your own? Are you committed to doing the research, planning, and marketing that's involved? How important is it to you to do a job that you're passionate about?

  • How hard is it to regroup after your plans fail? Do you get discouraged easily over criticism? How do people turn negative circumstances into possibilities?

TV details

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