A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Although it doesn’t delve into the topic of conservation, the show’s beautiful scenery from far corners of the world does inspire hope that the planet’s diverse regions will continue to exist. The documentary is rooted in the evolutionary theory, and Attenborough presents as fact what he believes are concrete conclusions about the lineage from single-celled bacteria to modern mammalian -- and human -- life.
Positive Role Models
Attenborough is a model of studious curiosity. Although he’s an expert himself, he happily assumes the role of student when he’s around other scientists who share their knowledge with him.
Violence & Scariness
A few computer-generated scenes of prehistoric creatures killing and digesting prey.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A segment of the show discusses the evolution of sexual reproduction, but the content is limited to simple organisms like coral, which mix genetic material by simultaneously releasing eggs and sperm into the water to mix and form new life forms.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fascinating documentary takes viewers on a whirlwind tour of billions of years' worth of evolution, introducing them to creatures that emerged during turning points in the anthropological history of the planet and drawing connections between them and modern life. In other words, the host presents as fact what some might believe to be contestable scientific claims of the origins of human life. Controversy aside, the show is a stunning collection of scientific data, fossil evidence, and recent theories made possible by state-of-the-art CGI, which is used throughout the documentary. It's a worthwhile tour for families, but it's best appreciated by teens who can process the weighty scientific topics.
Is It Any Good?
Attenborough's journey is one of truly epic proportions, both on a geographical and on a historical scale. His extensive travels around the world to gather data and witness evidence for himself remind viewers of the grand scope of evolution -- that each of us descended from microscopic organisms and are a mere part of a process that's billions of years old. The concepts are mind-boggling, but Attenborough masterfully condenses a lifetime of knowledge into this fascinating, surprisingly comprehensible documentary.
Genius host aside, the show's best feature is its use of state-of-the-art CGI, which breathes life into the very fossils Attenborough and the other experts have unearthed. Thanks to these lifelike scenes of prehistoric existence, viewers get a real sense of the atmosphere at pivotal points in the planet's history. All of this makes for superb family viewing, but the subject matter is meant for viewers who can grasp the concepts themselves -- namely teens -- since younger kids won't have the patience for the lengthy scientific lectures.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.