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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SciJinks is a hidden-camera prank show that tries to bring some educational value to the premise by explaining the science concepts used in the prank segments. Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory hosts the show but doesn't participate in the pranks, making his overall involvement pretty minimal. The gags are silly and a bit tame, never approaching the levels of shows like Punk'd or Jackass, which makes the show suitable for younger viewers. Teens may find the content not risky enough to be entirely entertaining.
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What's the story?
Johnny Galecki hosts SCIJINKS, a hidden-camera prank show that seeks to differentiate itself by engaging in pranks that use specific science concepts. The setup is familiar: Actors in on the gag bring unsuspecting individuals in to situations that quickly escalate to seemingly dangerous or embarrassing ends, with the joke being revealed only at the last minute, much to the relief of victims. At the end of the prank, Galecki and his science-adept co-hosts explain some bit of science involved, such as which chemicals combined together to make a batch of beer explode with mountains of foam.
Is it any good?
Well-intentioned but uninspired, this series wants to take one of the simplest entertainment formats -- the hidden-camera prank show -- and use it for good by trying to add a little, and I do mean little, educational value. The pranks are tepid and the actors who are in on it overplay their roles to such an exaggerated degree that it's hard to believe that anyone is actually fooled. Meanwhile, the science, which is supposed to be the hook here, is barely an element. The science explanations are barely a minute long and feel simply like an after-the-fact justification to air this show on the Science Channel. There are certainly worse things on TV, and SciJinks has its heart in the right place as it tries to educate while entertaining, but it could commit more strongly to its comedy and its science.
Talk to your kids about ...
For kids who love science
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.