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 Sea Rescue is a fascinating look at ocean animals in distress and the professionals who help them, but the images of animals with injuries or in danger can be disturbing to young or sensitive viewers, though no gore or blood is shown. The ideas of conservation and taking care of animals is a strong theme, and the workers and volunteers who help the distressed animals are great role models. The show does serve as a backdoor commercial for SeaWorld, who produces the show, so kids might be inclined to ask for a visit after watching.
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What's the story?
SEA RESCUE is a half-hour docuseries produced by SeaWorld and featuring its experts, who locate and help ocean animals who are injured or otherwise distressed. Host Sam Champion opens up each 15-minute segment by explaining what animal is in danger and how rescuers will attempt to help. Then footage of the rescue attempt is shown, interspersed with talking-head interviews from SeaWorld professionals. Sometimes the animals on the show die, sometimes they are rehabilitated and released in the wild, sometimes they survive but are too injured to be released and are kept by SeaWorld.
Is it any good?
It's simply amazing to see ocean creatures so intimately, which is exactly what has kept the SeaWorld parks in business all these years. Speaking of those parks, they're the trouble with this show. All the references to SeaWorld's capabilities and equipment in Sea Rescue, not to mention the ever-present SeaWorld logo onscreen, sends a blatantly self-serving message that undercuts the focus on animal conservation.
Nonetheless, this is a unique entry in the annals of underwater exploration shows, which typically just observe underwater creatures, if they get a glimpse at all. Watching human beings interact nose-to-nose with whales, dolphins, and manatees, is worth a little theme-park huckstering. Viewers who can handle the animals-in-peril theme will be interested in the nuts and bolts of how the animals are aided, which often involves big, strange-looking machines and arcane procedures. Kids will also learn a lot about the ocean and its creatures by watching, even if they may end up nagging you to visit SeaWorld afterwards.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different ways that animals on the show are injured. How often are the injuries due to interactions with humans? What do we need to do differently in order to keep from injuring animals who live in the water?
This show was produced by SeaWorld, a company which has aquatics-centered theme parks. Why would a company like this want to make this show? After watching Sea Rescue, do you want to visit a SeaWorld park?
Many of the animal rescuers shown on Sea Rescue are marine biologists. Now that you've seen them at work, can you think of any subjects you study at school that they use at work?
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