A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
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What's the story?
Teams of teens from the United States and the United Kingdom face off in extreme challenges that push them to their physical and mental limits in FORT BOYARD: ULTIMATE CHALLENGE. Set on a historic stone fort off the coast of France that was also the site of the series' long-running parent show, Fort Boyard, the 10-part game show brings together six teams of teens, with two teams squaring off in each episode to win rounds and collect a series of golden keys. The team that emerges the winner at the end of each episode continues on in the competition; the ultimate champions are given a key to the fort's hidden treasures.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about competition. What life lessons can you get from competing? How does it feel to win? To lose? Does coming up short make you determined to improve your skills?
Tweens: What are some of your fears? Have you ever had to conquer them to overcome a difficult situation?
What are the responsibilities of a team leader? How do they differ from those of a teammate? What qualities are important in each role?
Do shows like this inspire you to get out and do stuff or watch more TV?
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