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Natural doom and gloom may be too frightening for kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While the show features lots of scientists talking intelligently about each episode's topic, the narration tends to focus on the dangerous and deadly in a very exploitative way (for example, calling volcanoes "mass murderers").


While there's plenty of devastation to be seen -- villages ravaged by volcano erruptions, etc. -- there are almost no bodies. That said, the narration is relentless, repeating over and over how many people have been killed by the featured events/disasters, etc.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this nature/science show's repeated images of dangerous events and the narration's relentless doom and gloom could be upsetting to young kids and tweens. It's true that many of the issues the series covers do have deadly potential, but the show's emphasis on that perspective is disproportionate.

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What's the story?

SCI-TREK uses high definition images to tell stories about natural events around the globe, focusing on a different phenomenon in each installment. Many of the topics center on potential danger to humankind -- for example, the episode on volcanoes looks at all the ways that volcanoes can be deadly, only spending five minutes on the ways that eruptions actually benefit the earth.

Is it any good?


The show's visuals are unquestionably spectacular. But its tendency to anthropomorphize inanimate objects is ridiculous. Yes, volcanoes are dangerous, and their eruptions are often deadly and devastating. But it's just plain silly to refer to a volcano's "weapons" or suggest that one could "convict a volcano of mass murder."

Granted, nature isn't benign, and shows that present the natural world as a happy, perfectly safe place aren't realistic, either But Sci-Trek seems to go too far in the other direction, making it seem as though we're unbelievably lucky to survive from day to day.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the show's narration compares to the images on the screen. Do you think it exaggerates how much deadly peril people are in? Why do you think the producers would choose to take that angle? Parents: Ask your kids to "do the math," so to speak. Can they figure out what the real risk is of dying in, say, a volcano erruption?

TV details

Premiere date:February 4, 2008
Cast:Michio Kaku
Network:Discovery Channel
Topics:Science and nature
TV rating:TV-G

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