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 The Great Escapists features two hosts stranded on a remote Pacific island building machines designed to help them survive with found objects. It highlights the importance of creativity, and problem-solving using STEM principles, as well as the need to work with others to succeed. There’s some competitive tension between the hosts, which leads to them turning their self-made machines against each other, and to some physical tussles that are more humorous than angry. There’s some occasional references to gin and condoms.
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What's the story?
THE GREAT ESCAPISTS is an unscripted series starring Mythbuster’s Tory Bellici and The Grand Tour’s Richard Hammond trying to find ways to survive, and escape, a deserted island. After being stranded on a remote Pacific island after being shipwrecked, the two TV hosts must use what’s available to them to get fresh water, build shelter, find easier ways of moving heavy objects, and above all, find a way back to California. It’s not always easy, and they are sometimes at each other’s throats, but when they work together they’re able to figure out ways to solve their every day challenges, and hopefully make it home.
Is it any good?
The contrived STEM-themed series mixes some silly, masculinity-driven theatrics with designing and building mechanical objects to demonstrate how creativity and a commitment to problem-solving can lead to important, and sometimes life-saving, inventions. From building cars to drag heavy items from one side of the island to another without straining themselves too much, to designing a steam engine that can help push a raft across the ocean, the two look for ways to survive, keep themselves busy, and to get off the island safely.
There are things folks will learn here and there, but much of the show is driven by the over-the-top (and somewhat forced) banter between the two men, who then fight each other using the machines they’ve made out of wood and other items. Meanwhile, a lot of the supposedly random objects they find on the island include hand held tools, netting, and other convenient items. It’s certainly not a survivalist show, but if you’re into building machines of all sorts, you might find The Great Escapists worth tuning into.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the machines the hosts build on the island. What things do they use to build cars, lifts, and other things? Is it really feasible to create these things on a deserted island without specific tools and materials?
The Great Escapists features lots of successful builds, but also shows some failures. What kind of things do the hosts learn when their plans go awry? Why don’t they give up?
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