Stuck With Hackett

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Stuck With Hackett TV Poster Image
Cool science lessons wrapped in reality survival show.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Exceptional demonstration of problem solving using knowledge of science and available resources.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although the host illustrates problem solving skills through his use of "found" objects to create machines and technology, his frequent destruction of everyday items to build his machines may not provide a good example for children. 

Violence

Sometimes things explode, and Hackett does things (like melt bullets) that should definitely not be tried at home.

Sex
Language

The host occasionally peppers his language with "hell" and "damn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality-based series provides clear, compelling lessons in fundamental concepts of science and engineering. Older kids, teens, and even adults will pick up science lessons from watching Chris Hackett destroy his surroundings and rebuild them in the form of amazing contraptions. There is plenty of the "destroying" part, however, so it's important to make it clear to kids that while the feats Hackett accomplishes are amazing, they're not usually the type of projects to try at home.    

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What's the story?

Chris Hackett is a multimedia artist who prides himself on his ability to assemble modern conveniences such as air conditioning from what he calls "obtainium," and what we would call "garbage." Each episode of STUCK WITH HACKETT features the host dropped without explanation into a barren location with only his wits and plenty of "obtainium" close at hand. The show chronicles his solo exploits in using found objects to construct amazing and frequently dangerous machines.

Is it any good?

As a clever way to illustrate the fundamentals of science and engineering, Stuck With Hackett is a real success. Watching host Chris Hackett assemble an air conditioning system in the Mojave Desert out of what amounts to trash is an amazing process. At each stage, Hackett takes time to explain what he is doing and why; clear animated illustrations provide further information.

As a half-hour spent watching one man ramble at the camera while he melts lead bullets and drinks stale soda pop, Stuck With Hackett is less successful. Hackett himself seems a bit too convinced of the ineffable coolness of everything he does, in spite of the fact that any reasonable person will find themselves confused by the way in which he seems perfectly at home wandering around a deserted location for no apparent reason. Also, why the black jeans, long-sleeve shirt, and combat boots in the desert? Would you need to build your own air conditioner if you were wearing shorts? If you can get past Hackett himself, his abilities are pretty cool to watch; when he manages the impossible, it's amazing, and when he doesn't, something usually blows up. Either way, that's entertainment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Hackett is a good role model to imitate. What did you learn from watching him take apart and rebuild the materials he used? What's your take on his personality?

  • Did you learn more about science from watching Hackett repurpose trash into treasure? How can you use these lessons in your daily life?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love adventure television

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