Survive This!

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Survive This! TV Poster Image
Near-death experiences for fearless families.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show's premise is to help viewers better understand dangerous situations, partly to help them avoid being hurt themselves. People are often seen doing risky things and not always making the best judgments.

Violence

All episodes involve dangerous situations or accidents. One episode featured a story about a police officer being shot at close range by two criminals (he was saved by his protective vest).

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality docuseries features actual footage of real people in the midst of dangerous, often scary situations -- like white-water rafting or a hot air balloon accident. Most episodes focus on the danger involved in adventurous activities, but some deal with situations that might be more frightening to young people, like a commercial airplane flight with mechanical difficulties or a police officer being shot by criminals. Three stories -- some more harrowing than others -- are covered in each episode.

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What's the story?

Docuseries SURVIVE THIS! uses interviews, real footage, and digital recreations to recount real people's near-death experiences while paragliding, rafting, flying on a commercial airplane, or getting caught in a tornado. For example, in one episode, a tourist visiting the Hawaiian island of Oahu stands too close to the edge of a cliff gets sucked into a sea cave and blasted by wave after powerful wave. An onlooker's video footage allows viewers to see the tourist's actual struggle for survival, while interviews with the tourist and the lifeguard who saved him add depth. Then University of Hawaii professor Rick Grig analyzes the story and the rescue footage to deconstruct both the elements that almost killed the vacationer and those that saved him -- including the amount of G-force that waves exert, the flow of the water into and out of the sea cave, and the understanding of ocean behavior that the lifeguards demonstrated during the rescue.

Is it any good?

Survive This! combines the voyeuristic thrill of watching someone undergo a difficult experience with the intellectual reward of learning the science behind it. Most episodes contain three separate stories, some of which are more exciting or enlightening than others. But since everyone always survives, most teens and tweens will be able to handle the show's tense moments. The show can also be used as a teaching tool for warning kids and teens of the real dangers of certain activities -- and the seriousness of taking safety precautions. That said, parents with very sensitive kids will probably want to keep them away, since the series shows real people in real danger, sometimes doing things that kids will have experienced themselves (like flying in an airplane).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their own scary experiences. Has anyone in the family (or anyone else you know) had a near-death experience? How did you/they survive? What factors benefited the survivor, and what could have gone wrong? How do you enjoy potentially dangerous activities -- like driving a car or playing sports -- knowing that you could be hurt? Do people learn anything from seeing stories like this on television?

TV details

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