The Wheel

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Wheel TV Poster Image
Survivalists compete to thrive in different ecosystems.

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

Positive Messages

Small successes can get you through tough problems. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Participants problem solve, try to keep going; some stronger than others. 


Survivalists fall, get hurt, get sick. Dangerous wildlife; animals hunted, killed, skinned, eaten.


Bare (male) torsos.


"Ass," "crap," "bitch"; bleeped curses. 


Product logos covered; a cast member wears logos for a local charitable fund. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Wheel is a reality show featuring people trying to survive in various extreme eco-zones. Survivalists get hurt, get sick (and vomit), are threatened by dangerous predators, and sometimes cry under pressure. There's some strong language and bleeped cursing, too. Animals are hunted and skinned for food. The series contains strong messages about facing challenges one step at a time, and the mental strength it takes to meet difficult goals.

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What's the story?

THE WHEEL is a survival challenge featuring six ordinary people trying to survive six extreme South American environments over a two month period. With only light survival packs and devices allowing them to call for help, each participant is dropped into different eco-zone, the location of which is determined by a wheel that, unbeknownst to them, is based on the lunar calendar. From dangerous rainforests to freezing tundras, the survivalists must quickly adapt to their surroundings and find food, water, and shelter to help them stay alive until the wheel suddenly sends them to a new place without any information about how long they will be there. 

Is it any good?

This interesting but rather unoriginal series features people from different backgrounds and survival skills participating in grueling challenges to prove something to themselves. They all struggle to find food and water, create adequate shelter, and cope with the stress of being alone. On occasion, they also have to avoid being eaten by predators, and survive accidentally poisoning themselves. But they all take it one step at a time, and look for ways to problem solve when things seem impossible. 

It's hard not to be impressed by the courage of the participants. However, outside of the fact that their schedules are dictated by a lunar calendar, thanks to shows like Naked and Afraid and Alone, you can't help but feel that you've seen all of this before. Fans of this sort of reality fare will still find it entertaining, and some folks may learn a few survival tricks by watching. But if you're looking for something new and fresh, The Wheel doesn't turn in that direction. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about survivalists like the ones on The Wheel. What motivates them to go into the wild? How do they learn the different skills they need to survive? 

  • The cast of The Wheel is not competing for a cash prize. Why are they pushing themselves? Why did they agree to be on TV? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality TV

Character Strengths

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