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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Human Planet is a beautiful series from the makers of Planet Earth and Life that chronicles the struggles and triumphs of the planet’s most adaptable inhabitants: humans. From the majestic jungles of South America to the barren Sahara Desert, this show introduces viewers to an array of indigenous people and their lifestyles, so there’s plenty of opportunity for learning. Very young children and sensitive kids might be bothered by the graphic scenes of animals being killed by predators and by humans, so be sure to gauge your kids’ readiness for this issue. What’s more, there is plenty of nudity (male genitalia, buttocks, and female breasts) related to some subjects’ customs. But if your kids can handle these aspects of this stunning series, then it’s a great choice for the whole family.
What's the story?
From the makers of Planet Earth and Life comes another sweeping documentary about nature and its inhabitants: HUMAN PLANET. Narrated by John Hurt, this series turns the cameras on Earth’s diverse human population, chronicling mankind’s impressive ability to adapt to any surroundings and to overcome the daunting obstacles of the natural world. The show visits some of the most remote locations in the world to witness how the indigenous people use ingenuity and minimal resources to survive harsh elements, deadly native species, and limited options for food.
Is it any good?
This series is a fascinating journey that will change the way you look at the world, inspire a new awe for the human spirit, and redefine how you interpret "civilization." Human Planet takes viewers around the world in six hours, bypassing the traditional tourism hotspots in favor of remote locales like the Altai Mountains of Mongolia, Inuit territory in Northeast Canada, and West Papua.
With six hour-long episodes packed with geography and anthropology lessons and plenty of lead-ins to discussions about global warming and conservationism, it’s a sure bet that this series caters to families looking for something worthwhile to tune into. But if your kids are sensitive to issues like animal violence, be sure to preview the show before you watch it with them, as many scenes show in graphic detail animals being killed (by predators and by humans) and dismembered. The same holds true for viewers’ sensitivity to nudity, since some subjects’ customs mean that at times whole segments center on groups of people who go about their business wearing next to nothing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the environment. Did watching Human Planet change the way you feel about the environment and conservationism? How would deforestation or global warming affect these people differently from you? What responsibilities do we have as inhabitants of the planet to protect it? How does the media serve as a learning tool?
Kids: How does this show make you look differently at cultural diversity? What challenges do these people face that you’ll never have to? What challenges do you have that they know nothing about? What common ground might you have?
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? What would you like to see there? What local delicacies would you eat and drink? How would you relate to the people? What might you learn from experiencing another culture?
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