Hellish reality journeys are eye-opening.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Addicts often live on the edge, resulting in some questionable acts of racism, sexism, and even crime. That said, the goal of the show is to help people turn their lives around and get a second chance.


Self-injury is as violent as it gets, though some fights have broken out. For example, in one episode, a cracked-up young man got into a fistfight with another and threw a computer at him.


Addicts often indulge in risky sexual behaviors (including unprotected sex or sex with strangers), acts that are sometimes alluded to in the show.


Subjects often swear, especially when agitated or upset, using everything from "damn" to "f--k" (the harsher words are bleeped).


The show is very low-key about product awareness. Paying attention to labels isn't the point.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Substance abuse is at the heart of the show, so everything's on display here (paraphernalia, the act of getting high, etc.).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this documentary series takes an unflinching look at an addict's life in all its rawness and desperation. It can be painful to watch others make terrible choices, but it's ultimately enlightening to see them get on the right path (if they're lucky). Footage of some of the addicts' problem behaviors (like drug use and excessive drinking) is included.

What's the story?

INTERVENTION is a graphic documentary series that follows the horrific journey from addiction to -- hopefully -- redemption. Past participants include one blond, still-handsome, once-successful mortgage broker who sleeps on a random rooftop, his prized condo lost to cocaine use; an FBI driving instructor falls from the top of his game after drinking too much and gets a near-fatal diagnosis; and a divorcee faces the prospect of losing everyone she loves.

Is it any good?


In many ways, the show's premise works. It's straightforward, no-holds-barred, and uncensored, which is really the only way to address the topic. The subjects are shown drinking and drugging, and the results of their actions are also made clear; ambivalence would only water down the series' impact. If anything could scare somebody away from using and abusing drugs and alcohol, surely watching the people who depend on them fall deeper and deeper into their own personal hell should do the trick.

Because there's so little sentimentality (thus reducing the risk of turning the show to an after-school special), it's hard not to feel like a rubbernecker staring at an accident that's best left behind closed doors. Nevertheless, this show is truly a learning experience (as well as full of cautionary messages for teens).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what addiction means, how it starts, and the havoc it can wreak on a person's life. How can you tell if someone's an addict? What's an intervention? Can an addict pull back from the brink without an intervention? What role does an addict's family play in recovery?

TV details

Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Intervention 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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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byPlague December 17, 2009


Great show. I watch it all the time when I go visit my dad. Also watch it with my son every now and again.
Kid, 11 years old March 7, 2011
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byDBarto April 9, 2008


This is a realy tuching show. This is a great thing to use to show your kids how not to live. Now there are some realy mature stuff in this show, because it shows drug use, ect. This is a must see, and again, you need to show your kids this, because they need to know what this kind of stuff will do to you. 5 out of 5


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