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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Life is a 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.
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media can serve as a learning tool. In what ways do series like Life 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?
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