Ancient Discoveries

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Ancient Discoveries TV Poster Image
New thinking on old subjects can be a bit slow.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promotes learning about our collective past and thinking anew about old subjects.

Violence & Scariness

Certain episodes focus on wars (Trojan War, etc.). Battle dramatizations are generally tame.

Sexy Stuff

Some nude statues.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional episodes might mention wine or other intoxicants.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this history-oriented documentary series covers a broad range of topics. Some episodes deal with ancient religions, while others delve into wars (including battle dramatizations) and other historical events. Parents may want to preview topics to make sure that episodes are suitable for their kids -- that is, if they're even interested in this rather dry show. Overall, other than some nude statues and bows and arrows, there's not much to worry about.

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What's the story?

In ANCIENT DISCOVERIES, historians and other experts use historical evidence like texts and artifacts to rethink the past, piecing together clues that reveal secrets about Rome, Greece, China, and the Middle East that may surprise some viewers. For example, in past episodes, historians have explored the theories that the Egyptians may have discovered flight long before the Wright brothers and that ancient Greeks used magnets to create flying statues -- stunning crowds into believing that magic was at work. The rather-serious episodes tell their stories using a mix of dramatizations, digital imagery, lots of shots of artifacts, and extensive interviews with experts. Some installments make connections with modern popular culture -- the episode on Troy delved into some of the ideas captured in the Hollywood version of the Trojan War -- while other episodes are more broad-ranging, such as one that made connections between religion and science of the past.

Is it any good?

Full of interesting tidbits and gorgeous objects, ANCIENT DISCOVERIES can be a pleasure to watch. But it's slow going, and those with short attention spans may find their thoughts drifting during the long-winded explanations of past and current thinking and rituals. For those with a particular interest in the episode topics, the series can shed new light on old ideas. Others may be able to pick out something useful here and there. Teens and younger folks might get more out of series specifically oriented toward younger viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about things in the show that surprised them. What unexpected facts did you learn? Did you know that ancient societies had such complex cultures and inventions? Can you think of ways that these ideas or objects connect to life today? If you wanted to find out more on a given topic, how would you go about it?

TV details

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