Real-life disaster tales are too intense for young kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series focuses on catastrophic disasters -- albeit in an analytical way.


Real-life video footage and photographs show violent disasters like vehicular accidents, explosions, and structural collapses. Visuals of injuries and blood are rare, but witnesses and victims recount in detail the traumas they endured, and in at least one segment, a body is shown being carried from the scene.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series replays video footage of catastrophic -- and in some cases, fatal -- events like bridge collapses, stunt mishaps, and hostage situations, giving viewers a front-row seat for real-life drama and raw human emotion. Victims share detailed tales of physical and mental trauma. In other words, it's too intense for kids, and some teens and adults may find it difficult to watch even when they know how the story will turn out.

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What's the story?

SHOCKWAVE compiles video footage of catastrophic events that have made recent history, including helicopter crashes, terror situations, and stunts gone awry. The series replays the images caught on film and adds interviews with bystanders and victims, who describe the terrifying events in detail. Computer-generated images help viewers understand what led to the catastrophe and how the survivors managed to escape with their lives.

Is it any good?


If heart-pounding, real-life drama is your thing, then Shockwave has plenty to offer. It's full of raw emotion and suspense, and the survival tales celebrate the power of the human spirit. Quality CGI makes it easy for viewers to visualize hidden details of the events, offering a complete picture of the events.

But the same points that make the series an enticing choice for adults ensure it's not the best choice for kids or sensitive tweens. The life-or-death nature of the stories -- especially those that take place in everyday settings like on bridges or on the road -- can easily cause anxiety among young kids, so it's best to save this show for after they're in bed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about survival skills. What techniques do you know that could be used in the case of an accident? Are you familiar with basic CPR and first aid? Have you ever been involved in a life-threatening situation? What did you do? How did you feel? How can preparedness affect the outcome of a dangerous event? What, if anything, did you learn from this show? Do series like this one intend to teach viewers anything or just entertain?

TV details

Cast:Dilip Khatri, Jim Howe
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Shockwave was written by

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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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