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Life After People: The Series
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this speculative documentary series is based on the idea of people completely disappearing from the Earth. The show never delves into potential causes for this unsettling situation, but the images of empty, crumbling buildings, monuments like the Statue of Liberty, cars, and other structures could be spooky or upsetting for some kids. But since there are no people on this show, you don't have to worry about swearing, drinking, sex or any other red-flag content.
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What's the story?
If everyone on Earth disappeared, what would happen to the world left behind? LIFE AFTER PEOPLE: THE SERIES shows how the planet's biggest buildings, greatest monuments, and most important works of art would all eventually decay and crumble. Some things will last longer than others; power plants would go idle in weeks, for example, but it could take more than a century for massive bridges and skyscrapers to topple. Experts explain why all of these man-made creations need people to maintain them and how wind, rain, snow, humidity, vegetation, and other forces would affect them. Bottom line? Eventually, nature will eventually reclaim everything humans have ever built.
Is it any good?
The best parts of the show are the fascinating computer-animated sequences that show well-known edifices slowly succumbing to the inevitable. The Statue of Liberty's arm falls into the sea, the Sistine Chapel is overgrown with weeds, and the Houston Astrodome's famous roof shatters, providing a dramatic statement on impermanence. Humans may dominate the planet for now, but our tenure here accounts for just a small fraction of Earth's total history.
The show's basic message -- that without people, nature would eventually reclaim our creations -- is powerful (and sometimes quite unsettling), but it's not complex. Each segment tells the same story of the wild world overtaking the tamed. The first few times it's interesting, but after a while it gets a bit redundant.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this show's vision of a world without people compares to that in dramatic sci-fi movies and TV series. Parents, be sure to address any worries the show might spark for kids about the likelihood of some kind of freak accident making humanity disappear. If you were one of just a few people left on Earth, what would you do, and where would you go? If nobody was around to care for them, what do you think would happen to your home, your school, and other familiar places? What would you miss most?