What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this British series about engineers who help people find ways to use eco-friendly power sources is pretty tame overall. Expect a few mild insults (like “idiot”), some talk of possibly getting hurt if/when a mechanical device fails, and a bit of social drinking. Most of the show's experiments aren't dangerous, but it's still a good idea to tell your kids that they shouldn’t copy them at home unless they're supervised by an adult.
What's the story?
British series PLANET MECHANICS follows lively eco-engineers Dick Strawbridge and Jem Stansfield as they travel around Europe in a horse truck-turned-mobile workshop resolving people’s energy problems -- lowering consumption, reducing pollution, etc. -- using green resources. The duo creates models that simulate wave oscillators, solar-powered boats, and wind-powered motorbikes to determine whether their designs are safe and viable. In between experiments, simple animated diagrams explain the mechanics behind each exercise while narrator Adam Longworth provides slightly more detailed scientific explanations. The team then builds the machine, makes sure it works, and heads back out on the road.
Is it any good?
Planet Mechanics highlights how creativity and science can be fused together to create interesting energy-saving devices. It also shows how materials that we use and discard every day can be repurposed to create low-cost energy.
Granted, the show doesn’t follow up on the long-term use of these inventions or the actual environmental impact of using them. But it successfully underscores the idea that building machines that are powered by alternative fuel sources is both possible and easier than you'd think.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what might be used as an alternative power source in their own community. Would it be a natural resource like water or air? What about waste materials?
If using alternative power sources is good for the environment, why don’t more people use them? What are some of the problems with using these alternatives?
Are shows like this designed to entertain, educate, or both? Do they succeed?