Engaging show about dangerous, rarely seen work.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The Sandhogs take great pride in their jobs. They demonstrate a strong work ethic and are clearly very dedicated to this dangerous -- and largely unsung -- profession. There are very few women on the show, but that's an accurate reflection of the Sandhog workforce. The Sandhogs are a fairly diverse bunch otherwise.


No fighting or violence, but plenty of explosions. Using dynamite properly is an important skill in this career, and the show explains how and why the men blow things up -- including plenty of detail on how they carefully plan each blast and the safety measures required to properly set off explosives.

Not applicable

Miners aren't known for their delicate speech patterns, and the Sandhogs are no exception. Strong language is bleeped often.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

No drugs or drinking shown, but the men do sometimes talk about drinking after work.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series shows what it's like to work deep underneath New York, digging the tunnels that deliver water to the city. The Sandhogs, as these miners proudly call themselves, are tough men doing a tough job, and the show takes pains to explain the dangers, thrills, and camaraderie of their rarely seen profession. There's some (bleeped) swearing both on the job and off duty, and a lot of explosions as the men blast through solid rock. Working with explosives is an important part of this job, and the Sandhogs explain how to use them safely.

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What's the story?

Not everyone has what it takes be one of the SANDHOGS. As this reality show about the tough men (and they are almost all men) who work deep underneath New York City digging tunnels makes clear, this profession isn't a good fit for anyone who is uncomfortable in dark, wet, enclosed places; doesn't enjoy using very large, very loud machinery; isn't a fan of hard, physical labor; or gets nervous around explosives.

Is it any good?


The series goes underground with the Sandhogs, showing exactly how they bore massive tunnels through the earth. It's a fascinating look at a dangerous, complicated job and the tough men who do it. Sandhogs have labored below New York for more than 150 years, working on many of the area's most important -- and most dangerous -- infrastructure projects, though they're rarely celebrated for their contributions. This program corrects that lapse and is a worthy entry in the close-up-on-dangerous-jobs genre that has become so popular.

It's clear that these men take their work seriously, and they like to discuss their profession's long and storied history. "We're like astronauts down here," says one. "We find out, five feet at a time, what this Earth is made of."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the media tend to focus more on some careers (medicine, law, etc.) than others. Which do you find more interesting -- movies and TV shows about jobs you already know about or those you've never heard of. Why do you think this particular work appeals to the Sandhogs? How do you think being a Sandhog compares to other physical jobs, such as construction work or other kinds of mining? Why do the Sandhogs think what they do is so special? Would you like to do it? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Chickie Donohue, Morgan Curran, Richie Fitzsimmons
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on: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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