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 reality show about eight teens thrust into actual survival situations features simulated set-ups (like a bus crash in the middle of the woods) followed by very real demands (building their own shelter and sleeping out in the forest for several days, etc.). There are some scrapes and bruises but no real injuries, and medical experts are available if necessary. It's not a contest, and nobody gets voted out; the point is to see which teens can rise to the occasion and which ones decide to go home when host Les Stroud "Who wants out?" (Speaking of Stroud, this show is slightly more intense than his original Survivorman because of the heightened drama among the teen participants.)
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Eight ordinary teens must learn to survive in the woods -- and get along with one another -- in this entertaining reality series. Host Les Stroud, the veteran outdoorsman behind Survivorman, creates a series of almost-real-life survival situations -- a bus accident that strands the group in the wilderness with limited supplies, for example -- and then challenges the group to SURVIVE THIS. Some of the participants have grown up camping and fishing and are quite comfortable living off the land. Others have almost no experience outdoors, except for the group's week-long training session before filming started. Stroud's demanding situations force them to work together to build shelter and find food ... and not all of them are up to the task.
Is it any good?
Survive This is a fun combination of realty-show drama -- as the teens' personalities click and clash -- and outdoor education, as Stroud and the participants talk about what it takes to survive in the wilderness and how common mistakes can sometimes be fatal. Though simulated, the situations feel very real, and the teens really do have to fend for themselves. Of course, Stroud and the producers are never far off, and medical attention is available if needed (and it is), but for the most part the kids are on their own.
The show isn't a contest; nobody is voted out of the group at the end of each episode. But Stroud periodically asks the group if anybody wants to go home, and, after some of the demanding tasks, it's clear that some of the participants are sorely tempted. That said, the teens are also surprisingly game and do well for themselves even after the reality of their situation starts to sink in. The one strike against the show is its stereotyping. The participants all fit into standard reality-show roles, and that's how they're labeled on-screen: the Environmentalist, the Hunter, the City Boy, the Sportsman, etc. But unlike the participants on many adult reality shows, the teens seem eager to cross the social divide and help each other. When the Princess is having a hard time, it's the Tough Girl who tries to bolster her spirits in an unexpectedly touching scene. As this show demonstrates, young people can rise to the occasion when given the chance, both emotionally and physically.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about survival. Do you think you could hack it in a survival situation? Does this show make you want to go camping, or does it make you glad you’ve got a roof over your head tonight? How do the survival situations in this show differ from other outdoor reality shows, such as Survivor?