What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
What Could Possibly Go Wrong? TV Poster Image
Viral video experiments inspire entertaining science series.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The hosts demonstrate entertaining applications of their knowledge of science and munitions, and safety is always a priority to them (even if their endeavors still seem dangerous to viewers at home). The process involves both successes and failures, so they have to learn from their mistakes. They laugh at injuries suffered by those whose videos they use to inspire their own experiments.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Grant and Kevin have fun with what they do, and they make it entertaining to watch through their banter and joking around, but their experiments reflect the fact that they're professionals. They combine their knowledge to design projects that both impress viewers and teach them a little something about science and engineering. 

Violence

People are seen in videos getting hurt by mishaps with explosives, fire, and the like. The hosts are less accident-prone, but they do fire guns, blow up things, and subject themselves to some crashes and collisions. All their projects carry inherent risks, so they remind viewers never to try them at home.

Sex
Language

"Dammit," "hell," "ass," and "sucks." "S--t" is edited. 

Consumerism

A screen prompt asks viewers to visit the Science Channel's website to enter a promotional contest. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that What Could Possibly Go Wrong? is a science-based series in which two experts attempt to improve on failed experiments of Internet fame. Each segment begins with the hosts searching online for (and laughing riotously at) scenes of amateurs botching creations such as homemade hovercrafts and rocket-powered skateboards, which they then attempt to safely and successfully redesign. They remind viewers to not attempt similar inherently dangerous projects at home, even as their obviously delight in the experiences make it enticing to do so. In addition to explosions and crashes, some experiments involve the use of a gun. There's a bit of language, with "dammit," "hell," and "ass" frequently used and "s--t" edited. This series is a fun pick for families of tweens and teens, and its roots in science give it a decent educational quotient as well. 

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What's the story?

When amateur Internet videos capture epic experiment fails, science guru Kevin Moore and ex-Marine sniper Grant Reynolds join forces to recreate the projects and make them work in WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?. From a solar death ray to a rocket skateboard, these masterminds never back down from a challenge, even if they do occasionally disagree on their methods. Using Kevin's knowledge of physics, chemistry, thermal energy, and motion and Grant's expertise in explosives and munition, these two longtime friends are determined to show that if they can imagine it, they can build it. And, really -- what could possibly go wrong? 

Is it any good?

This show's tongue-in-cheek title implies (quite correctly) that a lot can go wrong when you're making rockets out of trash cans or harnessing solar power to burn metal, and there are many uh-oh moments as the guys test their creations. For many people, this is the fun part -- watching multiple attempts go up in smoke, but on both a larger and a safer scale than they do at the hands of amateurs. Kevin and Grant certainly enjoy the mishaps almost as much as they do the victories, and they're well practiced at chuckling over their failures.

But this aspect of the show also provides a good learning opportunity for tweens and teens who watch, as it nicely illustrates the basics of the scientific method. The guys start with inspiration from Internet video failures, research materials, draw a hypothesis (or hypotheses, if they can't agree on one), run a test, draw conclusions, and experiment again if necessary before determining an outcome. It's a forum in which mistakes are considered opportunities for improvement rather than reasons to quit, and it celebrates the value in taking calculated risks within the parameters of safety.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Kevin and Grant design their experiments. Where do they go for the materials they need? How do they respond when a test fails? 

  • How does each host's unique expertise help him accomplish the goals on this show? What fields of science or other disciplines are in use in today's project? Kevin says Grant is good at blowing things up; what other skills does he bring to the team? 

  • This show is inspired by videos that often show people being injured experimenting with dangerous combinations of materials. Where is the line drawn between laughing with someone and laughing at him? How has the Internet changed our definition of celebrity? Can anyone be famous because of it? Is this a good thing? 

TV details

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