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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 this suspenseful docuseries has a tense atmosphere, frequent references to potential peril, and strong language ("f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped; others aren't). Both on-camera team members and the narrator often mention the possibility of the crew dying in their quest for new footage, and viewers easily sense the rising tension within the group as danger approaches. Scenes of tornadoes' devastating aftermath may be upsetting for kids and tweens, particularly any with first-hand storm experience. But for teens and adults, the series is an intriguing close-up look at how tornadoes form and wreak their trademark havoc.
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What's the story?
In STORM CHASERS, scientists and filmmakers join forces to track and intercept tornadoes, hoping to gather new data and unique film footage from inside the heart of the storm. For adventurer/filmmaker Sean Casey and meteorologist Dr. Josh Wurman, few things are more exciting than the promise of an upcoming tornado warning. The two men are of one mind when it comes to watching the weather, because both hope for a never-before-seen close encounter with the next twister to hit Tornado Alley, a north-south stretch through the United States' plains states. Wurman hopes to record brand-new data from within the eye of the tornado that may change the way science looks at and studies the weather formations. Casey's goal is more dramatic: Equipped with a pricey IMAX camera, he's looking for that one-in-a-million glimpse at the swirling center of the storm. But chasing unpredictable weather patterns often proves to be more frustrating than rewarding, and with each failed attempt, Wurman, Casey, and the other members of their support team worry that their luck -- and funding -- may run out before they reach their goal.
Is it any good?
Storm Chasers promises plenty of intrigue for viewers with an interest in meteorology in general -- and tornadoes in particular -- but there are lots of reasons to keep young kids and tweens and kids away. In addition to nonchalant references to death by both the subjects and the narrator (a team member prepares for a storm by stowing his cell phone and wallet, noting that his actions are "in case I die," for example), there's also frequent use of strong language as tension rises among the team.
The series could be especially upsetting for young viewers who live in areas where tornadoes are common, because they already have firsthand knowledge of the fear and devastation that accompanies these storms.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the educational value of reality shows like this one. Did you learn anything from watching this show? Do you think this series was made for educational purposes or just for entertainment? What makes you think that? In general, do you think the media is a good educational tool? If not, why, and should it be?