Prehistoric Planet



Beautifully animated "nature" docu for dino fans.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Negative social behavior is pointed out -- such as one predator that doesn't want to share.

Violence & scariness

Scenes of creatures preying on others can be a little intense; there's also a lot of "kill to survive" talk.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Some discussion of poop and bugs that eat poop.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series features the same content as Walking with Dinosaurs, though it's been edited into shorter episodes, and the narration was rewritten to be more kid-friendly. The show features a lot of scenes of prehistoric animals preying on others. While these images aren't overly bloody, it's clear that the animals are eating each other, and the meat gets a little icky. Sensitive kids might get a little upset. Also, there's some emphasis on the brutality of the prehistoric world and the need to kill to survive.

What's the story?

The nature captured in PREHISTORIC PLANET looks more like it did several hundred million years ago than what you'd see if you looked out your window today. If that sounds a lot like the 1999 BBC documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, that's because it is. Prehistoric Planet is that same documentary, diced up into 13 half-hour episodes in 2002 by the Discovery Channel and NBC for their Saturday morning programming bloc. The narration was also re-written for a younger audience and re-recorded by Ben Stiller and Christian Slater.

Is it any good?


The animation is spectacular. It's hard to tell which parts (if any) are live-action and which are animated. And the narration has just enough attitude to be amusing. Plus, despite the rewritten narration, the series plays to a wide range of ages, so the whole family will find it watchable, not just the dino freaks in the house. That said, it is a nature documentary and will sometimes plod along at the same slow gait as an over-sized sauropod.

It's also worth noting that, although part of the fun is the conceit that this is a "normal" nature film -- as opposed to a humans-on-a-dig-talking-about-bones kind of thing -- that very twist can lead to the idea that what's shown on the screen is real, rather than speculative. Unfortunately, there's little mention that it's all based on what scientists think they know, since no one is absolutely certain. But overall, Prehistoric Planet is more interesting than not.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what information this show is based on, given that there were no humans around when the creatures were alive (let alone cameras!). Much of the show is based on scientific research, but the action is basically all speculative. Do we really know what color dinosaurs were? Do you think this was exactly the way they walked? Sounded? Cared for their young? Fought one another? How can you tell the difference between what we think we know and what we know for sure?

TV details

Cast:Ben Stiller, Christian Slater
Network:Discovery Kids
Topics:Dinosaurs, Science and nature
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD

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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 9 year old Written byjoyful1218 April 6, 2010

Very informative and thought provoking.

My daughter found this program several months ago. She absolutely loves it. Unfortunately, it appears the show has been taken off the schedule which she is very upset. Luckily, she has 4 episodes recorded on the DVR. Does anyone know if this is a temporary thing? Does anyone know how the powers that be at DiscoveryKids can be contacted?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 10 years old April 7, 2009

nice show

i love this show!
Teen, 17 years old Written byBlue-Bunny February 13, 2011

Okay show for littler kids...

Good for littler kids, but not as good as the original series, which it was taken from, Walking with Dinosaurs.
What other families should know
Educational value


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