North America

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
North America TV Poster Image
Gorgeous docuseries surveys nature both peaceful and brutal.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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

Educational Value

Learning opportunities for all ages abound. Kids will be entertained and intrigued by the show's array of starring species, learning about how their natural adaptive features allow them to survive in harsh climates. Segments that explore mystifying instinctive behavior like migratory patterns invite further independent research, or at the very least, plenty of discussion about what viewers see. Teens and adults will better understand references to ancient geologic history and grasp fascinating links between topography and weather patterns.

Positive Messages

The series presents images of the awesome natural diversity on the North American continent, from the smallest of insects to the largest of mammals. It explores how the variations in topography influence weather patterns, and thus demand the adaptation of local inhabitants, as well as the geological history that yielded the landscape we see today. What's more, it inspires curiosity in its viewers, encouraging them to get outside and take in some of the sights themselves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's all about the animals in this show.

Violence & Scariness

Predatory animals kill and eat prey, which often are the youngest or weakest members of a group. Of course, this is true to the nature of life in the wild, but the show plays up the drama, making you sympathize with the soon-to-be prey, so it will hit sensitive viewers especially hard. Some examples include a grey whale calf overpowered by a pod of killer whales, baby turtles eaten by lizards and birds, and a young caribou devoured by a wolf.

Sexy Stuff

Some segments spotlight the unusual mating rituals of certain species (birds showing off their plumage or performing a dance to win over a mate), but the act itself isn't shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that North America is a gorgeous docuseries narrated by Tom Selleck that crisscrosses the continent to capture images of unique species highly adapted to their extreme environments. It goes without saying that there's a lot for anyone to learn from this beautifully produced project, thus making it an excellent choice for family viewing, but keep in mind that it does present an uncensored look at how animals live, and sometimes how they die at the hands of predators. These segments can be upsetting for sensitive viewers, so if you do tune in with your kids, know that they may need some reassurance during these scenes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 6-year-old Written bykandfmom June 21, 2013

Great for adults, not for kids

I watched one episode before letting my 6 year old watch and I'm glad I did. This might be okay for older kids but watching killer whales hunt a mom and b... Continue reading

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What's the story?

NORTH AMERICA is a breathtaking virtual tour of some of the most awe-inspiring places on a continent marked by the most extreme range of climates and weather patterns in the world. Five years in the making and spanning eight countries and 29 states, this seven-part series illustrates the natural rule of "survival of the fittest" as it gives way to unusual adaptations of species that call the far reaches of this land "home." From the elusive Mexican desert jaguar to the instinctive synchronicity of nesting sea turtles in Costa Rica, cameras capture incredible moments in the wild -- sometimes for the first time -- and invite viewers to enjoy the splendor. Set to inspiring music and complemented by stunning time-lapse photography, the series sets out to show what makes North America's biodiversity so unique.

Is it any good?

Beautiful to its very last moment, this documentary series introduces viewers to the splendor and intrigue that otherwise might go unnoticed by the masses. North America does for this corner of the world what Planet Earth did for the larger picture. Many viewers will be familiar with some of the spots featured here, from the California coast to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the northern tundra to the jungles of the south. Such accessibility inspires not only respect and admiration but a genuine desire to witness these sights for yourselves.

The educational potential that exists here is virtually limitless, as the content extends beyond gorgeous footage of amazing species at work and play to include spectacular weather events and an exploration of geological history. Compelling storytelling captures viewers' attention throughout and is simple enough for kids to follow. That said, what makes this series so great is its reserved observation of nature in its truest form, so be sure your kids can handle the concept of life and death before you watch with them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about natural selection. How does this process ensure the survival of a species? What examples of adaptation do you see in the animals featured in North America? What threats exist to their continued survival? What role do humans play in these threats?

  • Does North America inspire you to visit new places? Where would you like to go? What would you see there? Why is it important to conserve the areas these species call home? 

  • Use the concepts in this series to guide exploration of your own environment. What species thrive there? How does the climate and the geography benefit them? What predators exist there?


  • How does North America promote curiosity? Why is that an important character strength?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and nature

Character Strengths

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