I Shouldn't Be Alive: Science of Survival

Common Sense Media says

Survival docu has good message, scary moments.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series is educational rather than exploitative. It offers both scientific and practical information about how to survive deadly situations.

Positive role models

Many of the people who find themselves in life-threatening mishaps got there by making mistakes and/or not using appropriate equipment.


Survivors calmly describe frightening moments like jumping from a sinking ship or facing wild animals. One episode discusses people being eaten by sharks, but it only shows clips of shark feeding frenzies. Open wounds and other injuries are visible.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series, which is a spin-off of the survival docu I Shouldn't Be Alive, features stories about people who've lived through life-threatening situations. The series is more educational than exploitative, but it does include some descriptions and reenactments of events that could be disturbing and/or frightening to kids or sensitive viewers. The fact that the show's survival experts offer both scientific and practical information about how to stay alive in similar circumstances may calm some nerves.

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Kids say

What's the story?

I SHOULDN'T BE ALIVE: SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL revisits the harrowing stories originally featured in the docuseries I Shouldn't Be Alive. Going one step beyond its parent series, the show offers viewers scientific explanations and practical information on how to survive if they ever find themselves in a similar life-threatening situation. With the help of survival specialists Les Stroud, Capt. Myke Hawke, Phil West, and Ross McFadyen, the show also offers viewers tips on how to avoid other precarious situations and guidelines on what to do in the event that things do go terribly wrong.

Is it any good?


Overall, the series is educational rather than exploitative. Each expert subjects himself to some of the harsh conditions described by survivors in order to demonstrate the various, sometimes creative ways that people can stay alive until being rescued. The experts show how to find life-sustaining nourishment, create drinkable water, avoid dangerous creatures, and stay protected from the elements. But their best lessons are about being prepared for emergencies before going on the road, hiking up a mountain, or sailing out to open sea. Also valuable is the reminder to stay calm and take a second to think about how to proceed, rather than panicking or acting instinctively.

Science of Survival reminds viewers that while no one expects to end up fighting for their life, those who live through perilous situations usually have a little knowledge, some imagination, and a strong will to live. It's a great message, but younger and/or more sensitive viewers may find it a little hard to grasp due to some of the show's upsetting (and sometimes frightening) reenactments. Also potentially disturbing are the discussions of some of the lethal mistakes people have made in dangerous circumstances. But for those who can handle it, the show has a lot to offer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the media's role in preparing people for emergencies and unexpected situations. Can TV, the radio, and the Internet help people cope with or avoid tragic events? How can shows like this one educate viewers without exploiting the survivors' stories? Families can also discuss making difficult choices in dangerous situations. Can you ever be sure you're making the right choices in a life-or-death scenario? Would you have made the same choices as the people on the show?

TV details

This review of I Shouldn't Be Alive: Science of Survival was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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, okay 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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Teen, 13 years old Written byEarthgirl13 May 1, 2010

Perfect for tweens

It's scary and sad but so thrillng and exciting
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models


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