Stranded with a Million Dollars

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Stranded with a Million Dollars TV Poster Image
Drone-filled survival show emphasizes greed, selfishness.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Survival, greed. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some contestants are team players, many are self-serving. 


Catty arguing, minor injuries; people get sick, vomit. 


Some women's clothing can get skimpy.


"damn," "hell," "bitch"; curses bleeped. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the survival-themed reality game show Stranded With A Million Dollars contains troubling messages about the importance of money, and how individual needs justify harming a team. It also contains strong language, arguments, and catty behavior, as well as people getting sick and struggling with hunger, thirst, and the elements. 

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What's the story?

STRANDED WITH A MILLION DOLLARS is a reality competition series featuring contestants trying to stay alive on a tropical island without spending a major cash jackpot. Ten contestants are stranded on the Fijian island of Taveuni with only the clothes on their back, an emergency flair gun, a computer tablet, and a million bucks. For 40 days they must hunt for food and water, find shelter, and move to different island locations while keeping themselves safe from predators. To help them survive they have the option of spending part of the money on extremely overpriced supplies, including matches, tents, and other things that will make life a little easier. Individual contestants are also pulled away from the group and tempted with luxuries, the cost of which are also deducted from the cash prize if they accept them. Those who make it through the competition get to divide whatever money is left. Throughout it all, cameras mounted on drones and robocams follow their every move. 

Is it any good?

The voyeuristic and ruthless survival-themed series forces contestants to put a price tag on their basic needs at a time when their lives at are at their most vulnerable. It takes on a Hunger Games-like quality as people find it less necessary to cooperate with each other and more prone to making self-serving (and expensive) decisions as they get hungrier, thirstier, and more exhausted. The show’s reliance on drone technology, which is used to deliver items and follow their every move, only adds to this. 

Unlike tv shows like Survivor, each contestant must remove her/himself from the game, eliminating the need for group elimination challenges and power alliances. Nonetheless, there's still plenty of strategizing and sneaky behavior as each contestant looks for ways to get others to spend less money and self-evacuate in order to win a bigger cash prize. This includes pouncing on struggling contestants and cunningly pressuring them to leave. Fans of these types of shows will find it entertainingly different, but Stranded With A Million Dollars is also decidedly disturbing. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the attitudes and behaviors of the contestants on this show. On a game show people want to win, but should it be at the expense of others? Would cast members make different decisions if they weren’t hungry or thirsty? Or are they just greedy? Are the values they exhibit on the show the same ones they exhibit in real life?

  • Why do people agree to participate in tv shows like Stranded With A Million Dollars? Is putting themselves through grueling challenges only about winning money? Or is there something else that motivates them? 

TV details

  • Premiere date: February 21, 2017
  • Network: MTV
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: September 28, 2020

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