A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series offers a look at how recent advances in science can help prove or disprove longtime legends. Kids may take an increased interest in the sciences after seeing them put to such practical use.
Mild language, depending on the show's topic. One episode includes infrequent mentions of killing a Sasquatch, including terms like "bagging one."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this documentary series takes on longtime legends, tackling some topics -- like ghosts and UFOs -- that might be frightening for the littlest viewers. Youngsters may also be upset by depictions of legendary creatures or alien sketches, as well as the uncertainty of their possible existence. But kids who like this kind of thing will probably be fascinated as scientific experts discuss how they use various disciplines to analyze physical evidence and self-proclaimed witnesses offer first-hand accounts of paranormal experiences. A final caveat: Before tuning in, even gung-ho kids might need some explanation of what makes (and fuels) legends, as well as some background on each episode's topic.
Is It Any Good?
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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