Madventures

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Madventures TV Poster Image
Edgy travel show follows Finnish duo on eye-opening trips.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Although many of the customs and cultures explored may seem strange or taboo to Western audiences (fetishism, tribal fighting, taking drugs, etc.), the series looks at the lives of the world's native communities with the intent to inform and educate rather than exploit. Ultimately, it supports the idea of respecting native cultures, no matter how peculiar and/or absurd they may seem.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While they have a bit of a wild side, both Riku and Tunna believe in being open minded, trying new things, and always respecting people and practices from other cultures.

Violence

The series explores various types of tribal fighting. Pistols, machine guns, and other weapons are shown. At times the pair is shot at. Occasional graphic descriptions of gang violence (like beating people and setting them on fire). Sacred swords and other traditional weaponry and fighting techniques are also shown, discussed, and revered.

Sex

Customs the show's hosts delve into include activities in fetish hotels and the use of mannequins for sexual pleasure -- some fetishism is shown, but no actual sexual activity is visible. In one episode, Riku is shown lying naked on a table while women eat sushi off of him (no sensitive body parts are visible). Another episode includes a brief reference to incest.

Language

Words like “damn” and “hell” are audible. Stronger words (“s--t," “f--k” ) are mostly bleeped, but occasionally something slips through.

Consumerism

Some foreign brands and labels of various consumer items --  ranging from beer to robots -- are visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent social drinking (beer, hard liquor) and cigarette smoking. Both Riku and Tunna try ritual hallucinogenics.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- which follows two Finnish travelers as they explore off-the-beaten-track locations around the world -- covers activities and customs that that might be considered bizarre or unacceptable by Western standards, such as taking natural hallucinogenics, participating in
fetish-oriented activities, and trying very unusual foods. But the hosts approach each new adventure with open minds and, despite some rough behavior (salty language, drinking, smoking, etc.), they send a clear message about respecting native people and
practices at all times. Expect some scenes that could upset the squeamish, as well as images of weapons and fighting and occasional discussion of mature topics like gang violence.

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What's the story?

MADVENTURES is an award-winning Finnish reality series that follows backpackers Riku Rantala and Tuomos “Tunna” Milonoff as they travel the world looking for unusual places to visit and bizarre rituals to take part in. The adventurous duo explores everywhere from the dangerous shantytowns of Brazil to the deserts of Yemen as they immerse themselves in their host communities' non-mainstream (to Western viewers, anyway) cultural practices -- from drinking natural hallucinogenics under the watchful eyes of a jungle shaman to illegally speeding cars down spiraling mountain roads with Japanese driving gangs. In each episode's "Mad Cook" segment, the two also get the chance to sample distinctive local delicacies, including boiled monkey brains and the moving tentacles of a “dancing octopus."

Is it any good?

This unscripted show plays like a video diary of the team’s journey as they make their way through places that most tourists wouldn’t dream of visiting. Riku and Tunna are entertaining to watch as they gamely try activites from working as a body sushi plate to trying to swallow "distinctive" local meals without rudely spitting them out. Some episodes can get pretty tense, too -- the pair has often risked gunfire and other perils to learn more about the lives of the people they're meeting.

The duo doesn't hold back from drinking (often heavily) or shy away some of the more wild and/or risqué aspects of local entertainment. But they're also very clear about the importance of respecting the people they meet and their native practices, no matter how strange or absurd any of it may seem to foreigners. Overall, the show offers an interesting point of view about the world we live in and gives less brave and/or more squeamish viewers the chance to travel the world vicariously.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the show approaches the cultures, peoples, and practices it covers. Is there any kind of agenda? How does this show compare to other "exotic activities" series you might have seen?

  • If you had the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? What kind of local customs would you like to learn more about? What kinds of things would you try (or not)?

  • What goes into producing a travel show? How do you learn about the places to visit and figure out what to

  • film and not to film once you get there?

TV details

For kids who love adventure travel

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