Parents' Guide to

Ancient Yellowstone

By Davis Cook, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Science-adjacent miniseries lies dormant in most respects.

TV Max Educational 2021
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Ancient Yellowstone begins its three mini series admirably, providing a summation of the ways in which many people know about Yellowstone already, and what secrets it might hold below the surface of its unique geography, fossils, and animal and plant life.

However, as the miniseries' episodes continue, it becomes apparent that the superficially "cool" nature of the possibilities referred to above-- the episodes' titles are 'Alien Life', Frozen Archeology', and 'The Petrified Forest'-- forms the most significant engine behind Ancient Yellowstone's (halting) clickbait-like momentum. The dramatic pulses of music, artistic renderings of science-adjacent items, and interviewees' conjectures that form the miniseries never engage fully with any more information than their most superficial selves. Perhaps Ancient Yellowstone's lack of substance or quality can be summed up in one instance: when a talking head figure refers to the fact that "a famous microbiologist" began studying Yellowstone's thermal vents more closely a few decades ago. There's no excuse for that phrase in any piece of media that purports to share knowledge in any serious way, and in the same way that there's little to no knowledge that the miniseries has to actually share.

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