Human Body: Pushing the Limits



Fascinating docu literally gets under your skin.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series gives viewers an in-depth, educational look at how the human body works.

Violence & scariness

Some episodes include re-enactments of desperate real-life situations (firefighters racing against forest fires, a man falling into a deep cave, etc.), but there's little to no blood or serious injury shown. Frequent computer-animated images of a stripped-down, skinless, skeleton-like "person."

Sexy stuff

Rare scenes show couples kissing.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that each episode of this fascinating four-part docuseries centers on a separate group of body functions (brain power, sensations, etc.); depending on the topic, there may be images of kissing, people doing dangerous things, and so on. The series will intrigue science-savvy tweens and teens, but younger kids may not like the images of humans' internal structures (or the stripped-down, skinless, skeleton-like "person" used to illustrate how bones, muscles, and so on work). The frank discussions of how bodies respond to danger (shutting down functions or feeding off themselves, for example) could also upset young or sensitive viewers.

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What's the story?

How does the human body respond to extreme physical challenges like fear, exertion, and starvation? What hidden instincts kick in to help us cope under stressful circumstances? Using cutting-edge 3-D computer imagery and re-enactments of real-life events, this docuseries explores the inner workings of the human body when it's put to the toughest physical and mental tests, demonstrating how instinctual responses to stress help ensure our survival.

Is it any good?


If you're at all intrigued by the mysteries of the human body, then HUMAN BODY: PUSHING THE LIMITS is right up your alley. Each episode offers a unique glimpse into how we function, with computer images literally peeling back the skin on our physical structures to reveal internal systems (muscular, skeletal, nervous, etc.) and demonstrate how they work. The best part is that the wealth of information is thorough, yet presented in a way that's appropriate for average (a.k.a. non-scientist) viewers, making it a worthwhile series to share with tweens and teens.

That said, younger kids and/or particularly sensitive ones may be frightened or made squeamish by the computer-generated skinless bodies and the graphic discussions of real-life stories of extreme survival.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about media's value as an educational tool. Did you learn something new from this show? How could you find out more if you wanted to? What aspects of television make it a good learning tool? Can you tell which shows take their educational function seriously? How?

TV details

Cast:Bray Poor
Network:Discovery Channel
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Human Body: Pushing the Limits was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bytkrieg April 9, 2008

A bit redundant

A great show with wonderful explanations, but they could have put the information into 1/2 hour rather than an hour - it tended to repeat the same images ad nauseum.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Information... that's FUN??

This is a really great way of learning that's actually fun!!


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