Up Close and Dangerous

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Up Close and Dangerous TV Poster Image
Animal-encounter tales may scare the very young.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show raises awareness about wildlife and the respect that animals demand. It repeatedly reminds viewers that you can't blame animals for their primal instincts in defending their territory.

Violence & Scariness

While little direct violent contact between animals and humans is shown, there are some scary scenes of animals attacking each other and charging at the camera.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this wildlife show features potentially frightening stories about dangerous encounters with wildlife, as told by the filmmakers who survived them. Film footage accompanies the tales, and although the actual attacks aren't usually shown (if they are, they only show the victim being banged around a bit), there are some intimidating shots of charging animals, gaping jaws, and menacing teeth. This definitely isn't one for young viewers, and parents will probably find themselves explaining a lot of animal behavior to grade schoolers (as well as reminding them never to approach wild animals or domesticated animals without the owner's say-so).

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What's the story?

UP CLOSE AND DANGEROUS compiles the survival stories of wildlife filmmakers whose work has brought them face-to-face with some of the world's fiercest animals. Acclaimed camera wielders like Alex Willis (pictured), Gordon Buchanan, and Scott Cassell tell amazing tales of narrow escapes from wildlife attacks by predators on land and under water, with accompanying film footage adding to their stories' drama. Episodes have featured encounters with hippos, sharks, sperm whales, and sloth bears, but despite the harrowing encounters they describe, the filmmakers are quick to remind viewers that the animals are never to blame for defending their homes and families. Up Close and Dangerous also shares the filmmakers' tricks of the trade in getting close to dangerous animals, including cameras encased in remote-controlled cars, or how one videopgrapher hid himself inside a steel drum disguised as a log.

Is it any good?

Frightening tales and sometimes-aggressive wildlife scenes rule out this show for viewers too little to understand basic animal behavior, but its educational value makes it a good family viewing choice for young tweens and up. Parents will want to reiterate the show's overriding message of respect for wildlife and remind their kids of the danger of approaching any strange animal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about wildlife behavior. How do animals defend themselves? How do they defend their families and territories? How do filmmakers safely enter the animals' habitats to observe them? What can you learn from their stories? Why is it important to understand animal behavior? Why shouldn't you approach wild animals?

TV details

  • Premiere date: October 7, 2006
  • Network: Animal Planet
  • Genre: Educational
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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