Mean Green Machines

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Mean Green Machines TV Poster Image
Innovative "super vehicles" are put to the test.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Demonstrates how hybrid vehicles and other environmentally friendly machines are just as good (or better) than regular high powered or tricked-out vehicles. Gives historic background of the machines and provides informative explanations about their engineering designs. Not much diversity among participants.


The machines are described as "mean" and "bad" and the challenges as "battles." During the challenges, the potential exists for dangerous collisions and other catastrophes.


Some of the machines are referred to as "sexy" because of their sleek design and powerful performance. These references are mild enough to go over the head of young viewers.


Specific makes and brands of trucks (like Chevrolet), helicopters, and motorbikes are often featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, despite its title, this show -- which pits high-powered, resource-burning "super vehicles" against similar vehicles that use less fuel to get the job done -- isn't really violent (although viewers are reminded of the potential catastrophes that can occur if things go wrong). It includes some interesting educational details about the engineering design of each featured vehicle and discusses the pros and cons of each. There's some very mild sexual innuendo that will go over the head of young viewers. Vehicle brands and makes are sometimes visible.

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What's the story?

MEAN GREEN MACHINES (a version of the Discovery Channel's Mean Machine series) pits \"standard\" super vehicles -- machines constructed to be faster and stronger than average vehicles -- against those that have been designed to be just as powerful without burning lots of fuel and/or creating toxic pollution. In each episode, a regular super vehicle and its more eco-friendly counterpart must complete four challenges designed to test their speed, design, and power. The machine that wins the most challenges is dubbed the champion.

Is it any good?

The series shows that it's possible to design and construct powerful vehicles without creating a large carbon footprint. Engineers and machine operators point out the various differences between green machines and their less environmentally friendly equivalents. And the new, more efficient machines prove that they can really compete against former Mean Machine champion vehicles -- some of which are so fast and powerful that they have been used in active combat.

While the series doesn't specifically address pursuing a greener lifestyle, it offers viewers the chance to see innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles that could potentially become part of a more environmentally sustainable future. Although the show includes some very mild sexual innuendo, as well as some discussion of the things that can go wrong during the challenges, it's pretty mild overall. Tweens who have an interest in engineering or inventing -- or who just like fast, powerful vehicles -- will probably find the show interesting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how machines can become "green." What kind of expertise do engineers have to have to design an eco-friendly truck or a hybrid helicopter? Do you think we'll see more green machines in the future? What kind of real impact do these kinds of machines have on the planet? Families can also discuss TV shows that that focus on science. How can series like this one make engineering seem exciting and fun?

TV details

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