A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate, but it does offer some worthwhile social lessons about respecting others, trying your best, working together, and persevering in the face of great odds.
The competition challenges the teens to work as a team as well as excel individually, and each participant relies on his or her individual skills (speed, strength, agility, etc.) to compete against a team of opponents. In addition to overcoming physical hurdles, players display steady nerves, courage, strategic thinking, and determination. Teams consist of both boys and girls (though the boys do outnumber the girls), and when the two genders go head-to-head in games, there's no obvious advantage to one or the other.
Positive Role Models
The players are good sports, cheering for their teammates as well as congratulating their opponents in victory. There's no ego among them, and they're quick to recognize every team member's contributions.
Violence & Scariness
There's no violence, but the participants are subjected to some challenges that younger kids might find scary, like crawling through rats or scaling a towering wall.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game show features teams of teens working together to conquer challenges like traversing high wires, maneuvering through darkness, and scaling vertical walls above the ocean. The games test their courage, physical stamina, focus, and strategic thinking, and the teams must rely on their members' individual strengths to topple their opponents. Since strong teamwork is essential to success in the game, the show's messages to this point are its most positive attribute, but it also promotes less-obvious notes like gender equality (teams consist of both boys and girls), respect, and perseverance.
Is It Any Good?
This fast-paced show hosted by Geno Segers and Laura Hamilton plays to kids' sense of adventure, mixing in a little dose of Fear Factor-style ickiness (rats, bugs, and goo, albeit in a much smaller doses) for fun. The challenges are the real thing when it comes to making the teens push through their fears, but the competitors prove time and again that they're up for the tasks, demonstrating strength of character and a willingness to take one (or plenty) for the team.
Beyond illustrating the benefits of positive teamwork, Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge also reminds viewers that it's a team's individual components that make it strong. While one teen might excel in physical strength and another is unfazed by heights, for example, it's also important to respect another's sense of strategy or leadership qualities. Although the teams are male-dominant, they do include girls as well, and there's no distinction -- and no obvious advantage -- between the genders when competitors face off. None of the show's content is concerning for grade-schoolers, although younger kids might get anxious over some of the ickier or more frightening challenges.
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.