Parents' Guide to

Decoding the Past

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Mysterious history docu has some intense moments.

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The series' concise narrative means that a lot of information is shared in each hour-long episode -- but, true to the topics' mysterious nature, no hard-and-fast conclusions are drawn. Where details are open for interpretation (in the case of religious mysteries, for example), experts on all sides of the debate present their impressions and offer evidence to support their claims. In a segment exploring taboos in human society, for example, historians discussed stories about religious cults, cannibalism, the use of LSD (both in CIA interrogation methods and recreationally), and body-snatching of corpses to be used in medical dissection. Investigating various examples of each topic, experts explored the question of why these practices have long been frowned upon in civilized society and why they nonetheless persist today. But ultimately, viewers are left to examine the facts and make their own interpretations.

With its mature, often-controversial subject matter and frequent graphic details of violence, Decoding the Past certainly isn't for young kids and may be iffy for sensitive tweens and teens. But older viewers may enjoy pondering the legendary mysteries and debating their credibility.

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