Parents' Guide to

Is It Real?

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

How do legends stand up to science? Tweens+.

Is It Real? Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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While the series never arrives at cut-and-dried answers to these legendary quandaries, the process by which the scientists arrive at their individual conclusions offers an intriguing look at practical science. For example, in an episode dedicated to Bigfoot, a fingerprint expert discovered that one mysterious footprint contained friction ridges much like the lines that make up humans' fingerprints, leading him to believe that a hoax with such fine detail was unlikely. However, a primate expert disagreed, showing that through a simple process of making a print of his own foot in silicone and soaking it in paint thinner, he could stretch it to a much larger size while maintaining its general appearance.

The show's combination of enticing mystery, persuasive evidence (both for and against the stories' truth), and first-hand accounts makes for well-balanced, captivating entertainment. But inquiring minds beware -- you won't find any clear-cut answers to these age-old questions here. In the end, you're left with your own opinions and the pieces of evidence that resonate with you. Both intriguing and a great example of science in action, Is It Real? is an excellent choice for family TV viewing -- provided that your kids are old enough to separate reality from conjecture. Even then, you may find yourself explaining what's science and what's supposition.

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