What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this educational documentary-style show focuses on large-scale construction projects (bridges, roller coasters, highways, etc.). There's nothing eyebrow-raising here except perhaps for a little bit of tension during moments of crisis when something doesn't work like it should. The featured experts are well behaved and share their extensive knowledge freely. Younger kids may find some of the complexities involved in these projects boring.
What's the story?
The documentary-style series MEGABUILDERS takes viewers behind the scenes on major construction projects like the Colorado River Bridge, a giant Six Flags roller coaster, and a huge underground highway project in Madrid. Through on-site interviews with the major players -- project engineers, construction managers, designers, and other specialists -- viewers learn about the challenges and intricacies of these large-scale building efforts that are sometimes dangerous, usually expensive, and always under deadline pressure. One small mistake can spell disaster, as in one episode in which a retired Boeing 737 was being prepared to become an artificial reef in Vancouver and the transport driver had a 15-minute window during high tide to back the empty plane onto a barge. When his tires lost traction, workers had to scramble to find a solution to the problem. Detailed computer-generated diagrams and up-close footage of the project are also used to support the interviews.
Is it any good?
The scope of the construction can be awe-inspiring, and kids might be excited to see how elements all come together. The emotional periods during moments of success and failure give this otherwise rather technical show some personality. But the projects' complexities and the show's focus on the less-sexy details will leave most younger viewers cold. Still, precocious tweens and teens with a particular interest in engineering, construction, building, math, and some sciences will find the series interesting and informative.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about careers that don't require a business suit. How many different jobs are involved in these construction projects? Are kids interested in any of these jobs as future careers? How are these jobs different from office-oriented work? What kind of training do the featured people have? What other jobs can you think of that don't require a suit or take place in an office? Families can also discuss the structures they see in their daily lives. Do you go over bridges or through tunnels? Have you ever thought about how they were built?