Life

Common Sense Media says

Gorgeous family-friendly series celebrates nature.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show brings viewers face to face with fascinating species from the farthest corners of the world, letting them glimpse their lifestyles and daily struggles for survival.

Positive messages

The series promotes environmental respect by illustrating the delicate balance among the planet’s living inhabitants. 

Positive role models
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

Predators kill and eat their prey, and territorial fights among males often turn violent and bloody.

Sexy stuff

Content often includes references to animals’ mating habits, using terms like “foreplay,” “consummate,” and “in heat.” Some reproductive encounters are shown in detail, including those of snakes, bullfrogs, and lizards, as are some births.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this stunning high-def series narrated by Oprah Winfrey is an excellent educational choice for families. The breathtaking tour of the world’s diverse animal populations is a fascinating journey for all ages, and it inspires a deep respect for the beauty and fragility of environmental balance (and might provoke conversations about humans' role in maintaining this balance). That said, the series does include a number of graphic scenes of animals hunting and eating prey and might raise questions from youngsters about, well, the birds and the bees, since it often refers to (and in some cases shows in detail) mating practices of a number of different species. If your kids aren’t quite ready for “the talk,” you might need to be selective about the segments you share with them.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

LIFE is a natural history series that takes viewers on a breathtaking tour of the world, introducing them to some of the planet’s most beautiful, majestic, and unusual inhabitants. The show -- like the production team’s first endeavor, Planet Earth -- is filmed using cutting-edge, high-definition technology and innovative techniques that allow cameras to capture previously undocumented scenes like a Komodo dragon hunt and a tiny pebble toad’s remarkable adaptation to evade predators.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This awe-inspiring 11-part series is the result of four years of filmmaking from the farthest reaches and depths of the world, and to experience it is to have your appreciation for the natural world forever changed. Narrated by Oprah Winfrey, each episode is an amazing glimpse at the beauty and diversity of nature, from the smallest insect to the largest mammal.

With so much educational content just waiting to absorbed, Life is a wonderful choice for families, but it’s best to exercise some caution before letting youngsters tune in. The fact that the show doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of survival in the wild is one of the many things that makes it outstanding, but the flip side is that there are many graphic scenes of animals hunting, killing, and eating prey, which might be upsetting to sensitive kids. In addition, the series includes many references to mating practices of different species and shows some animals having sex, so if you’re not ready for “the talk” with your kids, you might want to pick and choose the segments they see.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the media can serve as a learning tool. In what ways do series like this one take education to another level? Could you have gotten the same information from a book or computer? Why or why not? How does the instantaneous nature of modern communication contribute to knowledge?

  • How important is conservation? How are animals and plants affected by the way humans live? What evidence can you see where you live of how people have affected nature? What can you and your family do to help ensure the preservation of nature and wildlife? 

  • Kids: What kinds of educational shows do you like? How does this show compare to some of your favorites? What did you learn from this series? What other topics would you like to see explored on TV?

TV details

Cast:Oprah Winfrey
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Educational
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Life was written by

About our rating system

  • 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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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byBlueSunday October 6, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

It will blow you away!

This show is so amazing and breath taking, I'm not sure where to start. For one, family friendly (although sometimes there is death or mating scenes) it is spectacular! I love learning about animals, its something everyone should eventually learn, and it helps us understand and respect nature much more (human beings need help with that) Plus the theme song makes me want to listen to it again and again, the butterfly wings are very dramatic :) You HAVE to see this, we watch some clips of it in science.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written bySynchronicity March 23, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 
When I first saw Planet Earth, I was taken aback at how frickin' awesome it was. Three years later, we have the new series Life, done by the same production team and companies (the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and NHK). Although Planet Earth talked extensively about the world we live in, as well as its inhabitants, there's still much more out there that hasn't been filmed yet. Now, Life does all creatures, great and small, justice. There are some truly breathtaking images that have never been captured on film in this series, as with Planet Earth. The Jesus Christ lizard's unconventional method of escape (that gave it its name) and the Komodo dragon hunt are worth watching Life for alone. I can't wait to see what other beautiful imagery the BBC has given us, and moreover, I can't wait to watch the BBC version of Life. In terms of content, there are some more intense depictions of animal hunting and mating than there were in Planet Earth, which is why I set the age limit at 8+ (as opposed to my previous rating of 6+ for Planet Earth). But, if your kid can handle such scenes, by all means, watch this amazing show.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old July 11, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

This is LIFE :)

I really love animals. Who doesn't? So when I watched this for the first time, I was crying. So much beauty, it can't even be put into words. Once I was watching it with my dad and younger brother. It showed two snakes mating. My brother's like,"What are they doing?" I didn't answer his question. I didn't think a 7 year old would really need to know what was going on. They have a lot of animals doing dances for mates, which is ok, but I was disgusted myself and was embarrassed that my dad was staring too. There is also some birth, which can get disgusting. I watch Animal Planet so often, I am used to seeing tigers and lionesses attacking and eating. It's just natural, but it may not be suitable for younger children. Even though it is nature, its still EAT OR BE EATEN, so I don't recommend it for kids under 7. They still need to see a lot more of the world without violence, or it could be bad.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages

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