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 documentary-style series is about cars, trucks, and alternative transportation of the future. It features people who are passionate about their work and successful at imagining, planning, and constructing vehicles and other transportation-related structures. While the show feeds America's fascination with car culture, it also offers alternative energy concepts. And the focus isn't just on high-priced luxury vehicles, but on public transportation options, too.
What's the story?
Documentary-style series FUTURECAR introduces viewers to the world of alternative energy vehicles -- as well as hyper-luxury and super-speed cars (some of which look as dramatic as the Batmobile) -- through interviews with car designers and engineers from around the world, as well as a team of design interns working at GM. Episode topics include innovative car materials, alternative fuels, cars that push the limits of speed (including a battery-boosted vehicle that can travel at up to 350 miles per hour), and the future of public transportation and ground shipping. For example, one episode featured an idea for a taxi that would travel along special tracks built alongside existing streets and could be scheduled via touch screen in the taxi stand, reducing the average wait time to about 15 seconds. This concept will be put to the real-world test at London's Heathrow Airport.
Is it any good?
Getting a glimpse of the future is entertaining, and learning about the ideas that might soon become part of daily life can be exciting. FutureCar maintains a good pace and features a variety of subjects per episode to keep things interesting. Some of the designers and engineers are colorful characters, which can be fun to watch, though others fall a little flat. While anyone with an interest in cars will probably enjoy the series, those with a particular interest in transportation, futurism, design, city planning, and engineering will get the most out of it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their ideal form of transportation. What would your "perfect" car look like? What features would it have? What could improve the public transportation options near you? What's the wildest transportation concept you can think of? How do you think life will change in the future? How accurate do you think TV and movie versions of the future are?
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