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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 this docuseries invites viewers to determine which one of the bizarre stories featured on the show are real, and which are urban myths. The archive footage, interviews, and reenactments used to legitimize these stories often feature bloody scenes of violent acts (shooting, stabbing) and can include references to people having sex. Drinking is occasionally visible, and drugs (like marijuana), and drug raids are sometimes part of the story.
What's the story?
URBAN LEGENDS, narrated by Stargate: Atlantis actor David Hewlitt, challenges viewers to sort through a collection of far-fetched stories in order to determine which one of them is real. Each episode introduces three unbelievable narratives about people like a San Diego couple who seeks refuge from a wild fire in a septic tank, a shooting victim who coughs up a bullet stuck in his body after drinking holy water, and a town mayor whose house gets raided after the arrival of a mysterious package. With the help of interviews, archival footage, and dramatic story reconstructions, the facts of each bizarre event are divulged. At the end of the show, the true story is revealed. Throughout each episode, the truths behind popular urban legends are also exposed.
Is it any good?
The show mixes storytelling with trivia challenges to create a game show-like experience that is both amusing and informative. It’s definitely entertaining, but many of the ironic and/or absurd anecdotes featured here revolve around violent events, which makes it better suited for more mature viewers.
Urban Legends also shows us how easily implausible stories can be constructed, with the help of traditional media techniques, to appear legitimate. Viewers might even be surprised by how easy it is for them to believe in the authenticity of some of the accounts featured here. But it also underscores how, in life, weird things actually do happen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about urban legends. How do these myths get started? Are you familiar with any popular urban legends in your family and/or community? How has television and digital media helped the spread of these urban legends? How do you verify whether something is true or not?
In what ways does the media impact the way stories are told? If some of the urban legends featured here had not been presented with the help of reenactments or interviews, would they have been as unbelievable?