Nitro Circus



Crazy reality-show stunts could prompt copycat antics.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show makes silly, dangerous stunts look easy and fun, which could make kids even more inclined to try them at home.

Positive role models

The stars engage in non-stop risky stunts. Pastrana's home, which includes a huge waterslide and several big ramps, fosters a frat-house-like environment in which the gang spends all their time cooking up one outrageous feat after another. They get creative, but they also egg each other on to try dangerous tricks, and it's easy to imagine viewers following suit.


Lots and lots of dangerous/outrageous/silly stunts, from motorcycle jumps to leaping out of an airplane without a parachute to rolling office chair jumps. Many are conducted without much in the way of safety precautions, and the stars do take some hard hits/falls -- but all things considered, there are remarkably few injuries.


Some blurred nudity during a few crazy stunts when the participants' bathing suits fall down.


Some words are bleeped.


Some brand names are visible, but others are blurred out.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, while this extreme stunt series isn't as crude as Jackass and its ilk, many of the tricks look so easy and fun that kids might be inspired to follow suit, which could lead to injuries. The show offers little explanation or commentary -- just shot after shot of young men (and they're almost all men) flying over ramps, shooting down precarious water slides, flipping their motorcycles, and doing any other crazy tricks they can come up with. Some are truly death-defying (leaping from a plane with no parachute), while others are just silly (rolling off a ramp on a wheeled office chair) -- but most end in spills and crashes. The group's surprisingly low injury rate is a testament to their skills, not a sign that kids will be fine if they follow suit.

What's the story?

For Travis Pastrana, being a professional freestyle motocross rider is more than just a job, it's a lifestyle. He makes his living performing incredible flips, jumps, and other tricks on his motorcycle -- and, as NITRO CIRCUS shows, he and his friends spend most of their downtime at his compound practicing more of the same. The series wastes little time on the petty bickering and introspective discussions that are so common on other reality shows; it's all action, lots and lots of amazing/outrageous/dangerous action.

Is it any good?


The show stars with a standard disclaimer: The performers are trained athletes, and viewers shouldn't try to imitate them. Pastrana and his friends crash more often than they succeed, but for all the painful-looking spills, there are surprisingly few injuries, and there's plenty of laughter all around. The result is that Nitro Circus makes practicing difficult, dangerous stunts look like a Saturday afternoon party at Pastrana's house ... which seems like exactly the mood that could make young people want to spend their own free time copying them, with potentially disastrous results.

Plus, with little narration or discussion, Nitro Circus seems less like a program and more like a highlight reel. Sure, some of these feats are truly impressive, but they'd have more impact if there was some explanation about why they're so difficult. And many of the tricks are just plain goofy -- rolling off a huge ramp in a wheeled office chair, for example, or doing flips on tricycles. Pastrana and his posse are clearly having plenty of fun filming themselves, but watching Nitro Circus isn't nearly as entertaining as creating it seems to be.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about different kinds of TV stunts. Stunts are a longtime staple of action dramas, but they're generally carefully planned and executed with plenty of safety gear. But shows like this highlight stunts that seen to involve neither planning nor safety. Which looks more exciting? Why? Which seem more "real" or more dangerous?

  • Are stunts more fun to watch if have more potential danger? Why?

  • Does watching this show make you want to try some of the tricks? Do you think that's partly the point, despite the show's disclaimer?

TV details

Cast:Andy Bell, Jolene Van Vugt, Travis Pastrana
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 17 year old Written byjade385738654 December 5, 2009

perfect for 11 to 100

i love it parents should make the chioce to let thier kids watch i personaly i think kids should be able to watch it no bad language all it is is dangerous stunt riders
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byHawkNanny92 October 20, 2014

Just crazy people doing crazy stunts

Travis Pastrana is a famous racer... He started nitro circus awhile ago and it's involved into movies, shows and live events. You have skateboarders, moto racers, snowboarders, bmx riders... And random crazy people! They do stunts and crazy things around the world. Sometimes the language is a bit mature but it's rare. The only problem is the stunts, but if you teach your kid right from wrong you won't have any problems. My 3 & 5 yr old nephews watch it, no problem. They do talk about family and dreams a lot too... It's not just all about crazy stunts.
Kid, 12 years old March 17, 2013

good enough

crazy and dangerous stunts that could lead to seriously injured
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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