Estate of Panic

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Estate of Panic TV Poster Image
Contestants endure icky tasks in quest for cash.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Contestants compete to gather cash that's hidden in various rooms and protected by complex booby traps designed to induce fear and inflict pain. As such, the entertainment value of this show revolves around watching others willingly endure extremely uncomfortable situations.


There's no combat or fighting, but the contestants participate in a series of difficult challenges, which often involve physical discomfort like being dunked into frigid water, being subjected to electric shocks, and grabbing objects from tanks filled with crabs, snakes, and other creatures.


Some words are bleeped, others aren't, including "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the contestants on this show endure some extremely uncomfortable situations for the chance to win money. To win, they must find hidden cash, but the money is protected by elaborate booby traps that generally involve physical discomfort. Contestants are immersed in frigid water, subjected to electric shocks, chained inside a safe, and surrounded by snakes, crabs, and other creatures. The entire format of the show plays on the notion that it's fun to watch other people in pain. If that's not for you, then neither is this show.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byejr4ever March 8, 2010

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Seven contestants visit a spooky mansion -- the titular ESTATE OF PANIC -- hoping to win money by participating in a series of difficult, often painful, challenges. Host Steve Valentine, channeling the creepy villain from every B-grade horror movie, guides them to different rooms, where they must search for hidden cash. But the money is protected by some imaginatively complex booby traps, including a snake-filled basement that gradually fills with frigid water, a study in which the roof slowly descends until the players are in danger of being crushed, and a garden strung with an intricate web of electrically charged wires. The players are gradually eliminated until the last one standing collects his or her winnings.

Is it any good?

Some game shows reward intelligence, while others play on sheer luck -- but the concept that seems to have become popular in recent years offers people the chance to win money based on how much pain, humiliation, or grossness they're willing to endure. Call it the Fear Factor effect. That's the model for this show, with its clever -- but very uncomfortable -- challenges. There's no doubt that plenty of work went into creating these sets, which recreate the spooky vibes found in the best (and worst) haunted house films. And the challenges are indeed challenging, unlike some game shows in which the winners just happen to spin the wheel the right way or strike it rich with a lucky guess.

But shows like this one also significantly change the viewing experience. Game shows once played on aspirations, with viewers wishing they knew enough about, say, the Renaissance to correctly answer a Final Jeopardy! question, or that they were lucky enough to win on The Price Is Right. But in Estate of Panic, many viewers will have the opposite reaction, being glad they don't have to stick their hand in a vat of slithering insects to dig up a $100 bill. And perhaps there's something unseemly about this concept, with the contestants getting paid to do something the viewers won't, making them more like hired performers. It's a different type of entertainment, and something that definitely won't be appealing to some viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about game shows. What would you be wiling to endure to win money? Pain? Humiliation? Would you be willing to go on this show? Why do you think game shows like this are so popular? What's the appeal of watching people go through these kind of challenges?

TV details

  • Premiere date: November 12, 2008
  • Cast: Steve Valentine
  • Network: Syfy
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: NR
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate