Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88 TV Poster Image
Just-OK zombie-escape show is for YouTube fans only.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

There are some iffy messages on this game show, with competitors sometimes saying things like, "I'm going to cry like a girl," or, "If I have to, I'm going to shove somebody else into a zombie, because I'm here to win."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Contestants run the gamut from selfish to heroic and under pressure sometimes break down and blame each other for defeats. They are sometimes able to team up and triumph over obstacles, but the game is engineered to increase conflict.

Violence

This competition is a rigged game with fake special effects and gore, but younger viewers may be frightened by some imagery: shambling zombies, blood, disembodied (fake) limbs, real-looking animal innards, gaping wounds, pools of blood, "zombies" that attack and "bite" people as they scream, horror-movie music and camera angles, jump scares. 

Sex

The occasional joke about sex, as when a player refers to wearing a mask and handcuffs as "50 Shades stuff." 

Language

Cursing: "s--t," "ass," "hell," "damn"; "f--k" is bleeped. Some hostile and vulgar languages: "pee," "titty," "shut the hell up," "f--king scumbags." 

Consumerism

Popular YouTubers are picked to be contestants, and their YouTube channel names shown on-screen frequently along with their names. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents should know that Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88 is a live-action competition in which YouTube personalities try to escape being (fake) attacked by (fake) zombies. Viewers are told that this show is only a game, but young or sensitive viewers may be frightened by shambling zombies, blood, disembodied (faux) limbs, real-looking animal innards, gaping wounds, pools of blood, "zombies" that attack and "bite" people as they scream, horror-movie music and camera angles, and jump scares, as well as talk about contestants being "dead." Cursing includes "s--t," "ass," "hell," and "damn," and "f--k" is bleeped. Strong or insulting language includes "pee" and "titty," and contestants say "shut the hell up," "screw you," and "f--king scumbags." There's also the occasional adult reference, such as when a contestant likens a mask and handcuffs to "50 Shades stuff." Well-known YouTubers are contestants, and their YouTube channel names are shown on-screen frequently along with their names, which may lead viewers to check out their channels, which may or may not be appropriate for kids.

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What's the story?

Ten well-known YouTubers are stranded in an abandoned hospital full of rampaging zombies. Who will die, and who will triumph? That's for FIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: EXPERIMENT 88 to decide. The YouTubers fight to be the last one standing by completing missions together: finding keys, opening doors, rescuing team members from certain death. Each episode lasts until at least one YouTuber meets his or her demise, with hospital cameras revealing how contestants fight off the zombies -- and sometimes get killed in the process. 

Is it any good?

YouTube-wild tweens and teens will want to watch just to catch their favorite really-small-screen stars in action, but the show is more "meh" than "wow." First of all, the hospital where the action takes place is so dark -- for dramatic effect? -- and the video feed so low-resolution that it's pretty hard to tell what's going on. You see a jumble of bodies and hear a jumble of voices, and it's often unclear exactly what's going on, who's a zombie, and who's doing what to whom. Add to that Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88's low stakes -- players are playing for bragging rights alone, and they're never in a minute of real danger -- and the whole endeavor seems a bit toothless. 

Nonetheless, fans of YouTubers such as Shanna Malcolm and Dennis Roady will want to watch just to see what they're like "in real life." And unless kids are very young or easily frightened, letting them is fine. The show's setups are clearly inspired by The Walking Dead, while faux industrial videos from a mythical agency called Con Op are cribbed from Lost; contestants predictably go to pieces when they can't find the way out of a room, get lost, or are subjected to a challenge such as having to find a key hidden in a bucket of bloody, hacked-off limbs. Adults will find it tedious and hackneyed; young viewers, who haven't seen all the show's source material, may be mildly entertained, especially if they like one of the participants. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Why would these YouTube stars agree to take part in this game? Money? Fame? Fun? All three, or something else? Would you be more likely to watch a YouTube channel of someone you've seen on Fight of the Living Dead: Experiment 88

  • Do your teens watch viral videos or follow web personalities? How does the internet allow us to present ourselves differently from reality? Can you say or do some things online that aren't acceptable on TV or the radio? Why? Parents: What are some of the things to watch out for when turning to sites such as YouTube for entertainment?

  • Families can talk about the pros and cons of the internet. How does having access to so much information help us learn beyond books? Are there dangers associated with this kind of connectivity?

TV details

  • Premiere date: August 17, 2016
  • Network: YouTube
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR
  • Available on: Streaming

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