By Will Wade,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
When animals attack...plus safety, environment message.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Man may have the brains, but on their turf, wild animals definitely have the edge. This series shows what happens when people come into contact with dangerous predators, and how these encounters can go very badly wrong.
Positive Role Models
Many of the stories on this series show how a few bad choices can lead to a deadly encounter, and how, when face-to-face with a dangerous predator, a few smart decisions can make the difference between life and death. The people who share their real-life stories on this series have all survived real encounters with wild animals and can explain what they did wrong, and what they did right.
Violence & Scariness
The entire premise of the show is describing attacks on humans by dangerous animals. It features many shots of animals in the wild, attacking other creatures and feeding. These are combined with survivors describing their harrowing stories and recreations of the incidents. There are no shots of animals actually attacking people.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the title of the reality series is spot-on -- it's all about attacks on people by wild animals. The show re-creates real incidents as the survivors recount their harrowing tales, and the scenes are combined with sometimes-graphic footage of animals in their native environments hunting and feeding. The stories offer both educational moments and cautionary tales. However, the nature of the stories might be scary for young viewers.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
For most people, the zoo is about as close as they ever get to wild animals. But this reality series goes out to the jungles, swamps, and oceans to meet real predators on their turf, and explains how these beautiful and fearsome creatures can become MANEATERS. The series features interviews with people who recount real-life encounters with dangerous beasts, ranging from crocodiles and sharks to wolves, bears, and leopards. The show re-creates these harrowing attacks, showing how a simple hike in the woods can suddenly become a survival situation. It also features plenty of footage of wild animals hunting and feeding, and makes it clear that in a fight, man is definitely the underdog.
Is It Any Good?
The animals are definitely the stars of Maneaters. Watching them run and swim and track prey is amazing. The survivors are less compelling to watch, and though their stories are terrifying, the re-creations are not that exciting, mainly because of the editing. There's plenty of footage of the animals in nature, but for good reason, it's impossible to film re-creations of the actual attacks. Instead, the show features clips of people acting scared then cuts to shots of threatening beasts -- it's clear that the sequences are cobbled together.
This flaw doesn't mute the message of the series: that we underestimate wildlife at our peril. The show is exciting to watch at times, but can also be seen as a how-to survival guide. It explains how people can come into contact with wild animals, and takes pains to point out that the ever-expanding human population is encroaching more and more into their natural habitat.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about interacting with animals. What would you do if you faced an animal attack? Do you think you would be able to fight for survival? What do you think these survivors did right, or wrong, in these cases?
As the world's population expands, and wild areas shrink, do you think there will be more dangerous animal-human encounters? Do you think the animals should be blamed for these attacks, or are they just obeying their own nature? Should people make an effort to preserve natural space for wild animal habitat?
- Premiere date: May 30, 2009
- Network: Animal Planet
- Genre: Educational
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: February 25, 2022
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