Total Blackout

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Total Blackout TV Poster Image
Fear Factor in the dark, with rats, roaches, bleeped curses.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series shows how being unable to see can make people feel vulnerable, and how fear can become their worst enemies. It also shows what people will do for money.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Contestants are from all walks of life and represent a variety of personality types.


Screaming (out of fear) is a common reaction among contestants during challenges.


Objects sometimes include bras. Men posing in the dark are sometimes shirtless. Players are sometimes forced to taste things from people's bellies, but the act is more gross than sexual.


Frequent curses like "s--t" and "f--k" (uttered out of fear) are bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Total Blackout features people in pitch black rooms using their sense of taste, smell, hearing, and touch, to identify things that are sometimes creepy -- like rats or cockroaches. It isn't violent, but contestants often scream and curse (the worst is bleeped) out of fear. Some of the challenges require contestants to feel people's bodies, etc. Women in bikini tops and men without shirts are sometimes visible. One episode features players tasting things located on people' bellies.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydavidrox February 19, 2013


This is good, intense, but fine for kids. Common sense has got it competley wrong with the age of fourteen, not bad language, but it has some sexual refrences.... Continue reading
Adult Written bymasaxo April 27, 2012


i think that this show is fun i love it its really fun to watch and its good for any ages it dosen't show any violence and stuff like that .
Kid, 10 years old July 12, 2012

Awesome Show

It is so fun to watch.It's fun to see them react!You might be grossed out because they are sniffing peoples armpits, mouths, and butts. If your kids can... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymrbookworm01 May 5, 2012

OK show for preteens

I saw an episode of this show last night and I thought it was really good. I think some of the contestants act a bit too easily-scared, but it is pretty funny s... Continue reading

What's the story?

TOTAL BLACKOUT is an extreme game show that features contestants competing in a series of challenges that forces them to confront their worst fears in total darkness. Hosted by Jaleel White, contestants must rely on their sense of touch, smell, hearing, and taste to identify objects like live cockroaches, rats, and even human beings, that are placed in a pitch black room with them. After each nerve-wracking round, the person unable to identify a majority of the items they are exposed to is eliminated. The contestant remaining at the end wins five thousand dollars.

Is it any good?

The series, which has been adapted from highly successful international versions of the show, demonstrates how easily people's imaginations can run wild when they are unable to rely on their sense of sight. But what really makes the show entertaining is being able to watch how tough-talking contestants are overtaken by fear and squeamishness once they find themselves in the dark.

Watching these folks trying to pull themselves together in order to play the game makes for some very funny moments. Some of the challenges, like licking unknown substances out of people's belly buttons and fondling an octopus, might make you a little squeamish, too. But if you can handle it, you will probably find yourself chuckling at some of what you see here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about game shows. What makes a game show extreme? Is it the danger the challenges pose to contestants? The environment in which they have to compete? The prizes they can win? Do you think the reactions of contestants are always real?

  • Why would people want to appear on this show? Is it just for the money? What's the strangest thing you would do for big bucks?

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 25, 2012
  • Cast: Jaleel White
  • Network: Syfy
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: September 21, 2019

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