Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Discovery Channel's "Body Story"

Originally a British series, Discovery Channel's "Body Story" offers a fascinating glimpse inside the human body.

Using actors and computer animation to dramatize how our bodies cope with major health events, the series looks at pregnancy, the flu, a broken bone, "natural" death, heart attack, and alcohol consumption.

The information is well-presented, and the episodes engaging. Learning just how our bodies respond to foreign invaders and potentially deadly events is awe-inspiring. Loads of impressive graphics and interesting story-telling keep viewers glued to the screen.

Although this reviewer would highly recommend this series for upper-elementary and above (it is rated PG), viewers should know ahead of time that:

1) Pregnancy falls under the "Body Snatcher" category. While this is somewhat accurate, the series doesn't deal with pregnancy joyfully. Parents can easily counteract this with retelling positive experiences from their own pregnancies (or those of others, if more appropriate).

2) The "natural" death episode follows an elderly man during his last day of life. His death is calm and, we are told, without pain, but we do watch him "die." Parents can talk about the fact that this is an actor, or take the opportunity to talk about death, if appropriate. (I forewarned my son what was going to happen, and reminded him as we watched. He did not seem deeply bothered by it, although he was quieter than usual while we watched.)

3) The over-consumption of alcohol episode shows a young man getting terribly drunk and the physiological effects of that. He is romantically interested in a young lady, so there is kissing with some tongue (not to be prude, but some parents may want to know this ahead of time). He and the young lady intend to leave a party together to go to her place, which does not happen because he gets locked in a bathroom. He appears on her doorstep the next morning, contrite, and she forgives him. Parents can take this opportunity to discuss the feelings and concerns they have with any aspects of this behavior.

"Body Story" is available for purchase, rent, or download.

Article by Sarah J. Wilson

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