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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 Superhuman is a family-friendly game show that features people with advanced physical, sensory, and mental capabilities. It contains some mild sexual innuendo and a few sexist jokes, some of which will go over younger viewers' heads. There's no violence, but some challenges require tremendous physical strength. Occasionally words such as "hell" and "ass" are audible, and one challenge recreates a bar scene (with fake cocktails that no one drinks). The scientific explanations offered here are brief but may inspire some to learn more about what they're seeing.
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What's the story?
Hosted by Kal Penn, SUPERHUMAN is a competition in which people with extraordinary skills use them to win challenges for a $50,000 grand prize. Each episode features five contestants being put through extremely difficult physical and mental tests specifically designed to demonstrate and substantiate their unique "superhuman" powers, such as advanced mental capabilities, and highly developed senses that allow them to do things that most people cannot. After the five complete their challenges, guest panelists Mike Tyson, Christina Milian, and neuroscientist Dr. Rahul Jandial choose the three they think had the most extraordinary traits. The audience then determines who wins the cash prize.
Is it any good?
The fun and mildly informative series showcases people from all walks of life who were either born with, or have developed, extraordinary skills. From seeing sound in shapes and colors, to being able to navigate any city in the world with a single, brief look at a map, viewers get to see how they use their skills to problem-solve and make sense of the world around them. At the end of each challenge, Dr. Jandial briefly names the specific, highly developed brain functions required to perform them.
The panelists, particularly Mike Tyson, sometimes go a little too far with some dumb jokes. But unique performances by people like the Blue Man Group and Paul Shaffer make up for this. Ultimately, what makes Superhuman a super show is the opportunity it gives to learn more about some of the astounding abilities people have. It also celebrates the fact that what makes them different is also what make them special. No doubt that folks who tune in will be impressed by what they see here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the range of skills showcased on Superhuman. Which ones were contestants naturally born with, and which ones did contestants develop by practicing for a long time?
Superhuman often refers to contestants' extraordinary capabilities as "superpowers." But are they really? What do the scientific explanations tell us about the capacity human beings have to develop advanced physical and cognitive skills?
Which of the contestants' skills stand out to you the most? Can you develop the same, or similar, skill sets? How?
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