The Alaska Experiment



Survival show entertaining but intense. OK for older tweens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's definitely some pettiness and tension, but overall the series highlights how inner strength and determination can help people persevere. Viewers will also pick up a few survival tips.

Positive role models

The participants aren't always able to maintain a positive attitude, but they all try hard, and they talk honestly about their worries. When conflict arises, yelling and heated exchanges are frequent.


Participants talk a lot about the dangers they face in the brutal Alaskan elements, and there's often mention of people who have frozen to death or been killed by wildlife. Some scenes show bears catching and eating fish; others include close-up shots of decomposing animal carcasses. Blood is minimal during the subjects' weekly medical tests.

Not applicable

"Ass" and "hell" are audible; anything stronger (including "f--k") is bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although there's little patently iffy content in this reality series filmed in the Alaskan wild, the participants' constant tension over food shortage, extreme weather, and wildlife dangers could upset or even frighten little kids. Conversations often include mention of how easily adventurers can be killed by native bears or the brutal elements, and the subjects' worry for their own safety sometimes drives them to tears. A few scenes show decomposing animal carcasses and/or wildlife eating prey, and the language gets a little salty (mostly "ass" and "hell") when tensions rise. That said, the series highlights the strength of the human spirit, showcases stunning Alaskan scenery, and includes some noteworthy survival tips.

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What's the story?

In THE ALASKA EXPERIMENT, four groups of adventurers shun the conveniences of city life and head to the wilds of Alaska to test their basic survival skills. The participants -- a married couple, a trio of friends, and a father and his two adult daughters -- brave the elements for three months armed with only a meager food supply, some simple tools, and a rudimentary shelter. They must push their bodies and their minds to the limit as the weather turns frigid and food gets scarce -- and some are forced to re-evaluate their commitment to this adventure of a lifetime.

Is it any good?


There's something enticing about watching people battle nature's challenges -- especially when you're watching from the comforts of your own couch. For viewers who enjoy adventure-bound reality TV, this series has a lot to offer: stunning scenery, raw emotion, and personal triumph.

The flip side? The constant references to the life-threatening nature of the weather, food shortages, and unpredictable wildlife could frighten young or sensitive viewers. Likewise, kids won't understand the reasons behind participants' emotional outbursts and heated exchanges. There's a fair amount of salty language (mostly "hell" and "ass"), too, so it's probably a more age-appropriate choice for older tweens and teens. Even then, be prepared to answer questions about life and survival tactics in the wild.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about overcoming challenges. Why do you think these people decided to participate in this series? What personal struggles do they face?

  • Do their survival strategies work? What would you do differently in their situation? Do you think it's always true that adversity makes you stronger?

  • Also, why do you think survival-oriented shows have gotten so popular? What's their appeal? What messages do they send?

TV details

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Great handpicked alternatives

  • How not to die in the wilderness -- tweens and up.
  • Meet a real survivor; tweens and up.

What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old November 6, 2009
I love it. My son loves it he's 13 and would go right now. I hope ya'll keep it comming.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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