Sunday, November 13, 2011

TV Show Review: Flight 29 Down (Discovery Kids, 2005, recommended for ages 9-14)

For viewers too young to watch Lost but who may enjoy Survivor, this 2005-2007 Discovery Kids series about a group of high school kids whose plane goes down on an unknown island may be a fun viewing choice. A high school class saved enough money to go on an eco-camping trip to Micronesia, but one of the planes, with 10 kids and a pilot, loses an engine to lightning and is forced to land. Everyone survives the landing, but with no transponder and no radio range available, no one knows where they are. This diverse group of teenagers and one younger tween find themselves faced with having to work together to survive until they can be rescued.

The show provides lessons in the importance of working together and listening to one another. This was not a group of friends on vacation together, they were classmates. Very different classmates, as we see as some of the stronger personalities emerge. We see the vapid teens who have no idea how bad the situation is, thinking it's an early start to their vacation; the control freak who wants everything done her way, and the smart, younger stepbrother who no one listens to until it's almost too late. All of these personalities must overcome their differences to figure out how to survive in a new environment, with an adult who seems more of a liability than an asset. We see the group figure out how to braid vines to be strong enough to save the plane from the rising tides and how they wait for the water to make the plane float in order to make it easier to pull out of the way. We see them argue over rationing food and how to best make a fire. Available both on DVD and through sites like YouTube and Preserving Discovery Kids, this series would be solid viewing for parents and teachers alike to watch with children and to hold discussions on collaboration and how basic life skills can help save your life. Corbin Bleu, who later went onto mega-popularity in Disney's High School Musical series, was the breakout star of this show.

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