By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violent, scary "true stories" aren't for young kids, tweens.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show implies that the (fictitious) video footage it uses is factual evidence of the existence of unknown creatures, which sends negative messages to younger viewers about the reliability of the media's messages.
Positive Role Models
The people featured in the supposedly truthful videos play along with the idea that the filmed "encounters" really happened, which doesn't set a stellar example for kids.
Violence & Scariness
Vicious encounters with mysterious creatures are usually blurred or obscured by objects or darkness, but there's lots of screaming and obvious fear on the part of the victims, and injuries like cuts, scrapes, and bruises are shown. In many segments, witnesses make assumptions about victims' violent deaths, and blood spatter or other evidence is shown. Often people use weapons like guns or knives for protection. Fictitious or not, the show's content is often extremely disturbing, as in cases that replay video filmed by a supposed victim just before his or her death.
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Sporadic use of "hell" and "damn," as well as milder phrases like "oh my God" and "crap."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this intense series -- which uses fictitious video footage of violent encounters with cryptozoological creatures like werewolves to imply that they really exist -- definitely isn't for young kids or tweens. The content is suspenseful and may be disturbing even for sensitive older viewers. Victims are shown bloodied and battered from supposed run-ins with the creatures; some exchanges even end in death -- which isn't shown but is discussed in detail by the narrator. There's also some sporadic cursing ("hell" and "damn," mostly).
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Vampires, werewolves, and swamp creatures: They're the stuff of nightmares, but could they possibly be real? While science says no, eyewitnesses claim otherwise, and LOST TAPES is a collection of video footage inspired by the stories people have told about their encounters with such creatures. Each episode centers on "mockumentary" clips that show or imply the violent clashes; the fictitious tales are then juxtaposed with brief real-life accounts, photos, and other evidence from actual witnesses in a subseries called "Lost Tapes: Revelations."
Is It Any Good?
Simultaneously scintillating and bone-chilling, this intense series beckons to thrill-seekers and (yes, even though it's totally fake) may be too much for anyone with a low tolerance for fright. It's true that the subpar acting is a dead giveaway of the show's real nature, but that doesn't automatically erase every shred of uncertainty when it comes to some people's fears of things that go bump in the night. What's more, each episode includes some data -- including photos, video, and brief eyewitness accounts -- that raise legitimate questions about the possibility of mysterious creatures.
As for families, this series is a classic example of a parental judgment call. The ambiguity between fact and fiction, the lasting images of violence, and the implications of death rule it out for kids and tweens, but if your teens can handle some goosebumpy thrills and aren't prone to nightmares, they'll probably be fine.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the message this show sends about the reliability of the media. How much of what we see on TV is believable? How can the media skew our perception of celebrities, politicians, and other leaders?
How do scientists go about proving or disproving theories? What steps must they take to gather and analyze evidence? What evidence exists for or against some of the creatures discussed in this show?
Did you like this series? Was the concept new to you? What, if any, of the content had an educational aspect?
- Premiere date: October 30, 2008
- Network: Animal Planet
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: October 13, 2022
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