History's Mysteries

Common Sense Media says

Well-rounded, intriguing docu looks for answers.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series gives equal time to expert testimony and evidence on all sides of each debate, allowing viewers to weigh the information's credibility and draw their own conclusions. Plenty of historical and geographical educational info, too.

Positive role models

The people whose histories are discussed are from all walks of life, and the actions they may/may not have taken aren't always positive ones.

Violence

Some episodes deal with topics like suicide, murder, drowning, and ritualistic violence. Photos, video footage, and dramatic re-enactments sometimes show violent behavior, blood, and corpses.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this docuseries investigates a wide range of topics, including Biblical mysteries, mythical creatures, unsolved disappearances, and supposed alien encounters, so it's difficult to predict content from episode to episode. Many stories center on the subject of death, so murder, suicide, and drowning will be discussed; the related photographic evidence and re-enactments could be upsetting to sensitive viewers. Kids may also be confused (not to mention bored) by the inconclusiveness of the evidence, but for tweens and up, this intriguing series offers plenty to ponder and talk about.

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What's the story?

Hosted by Arthur Kent and narrated by David Ackroyd, HISTORY'S MYSTERIES has produced more than 150 episodes since its 1994 debut, covering topics like the origin of Stonehenge, the fate of the Lost City of Atlantis, the secrets of the Freemasons, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Each episode tackles one mystery, with experts from all sides of the debate offering testimony and -- when it's available -- evidence that supports their claims. If they're accessible, photos, video footage, and historical documents are shown and interpreted, with dramatic re-enactments helping to illustrate the events. Sometimes witnesses also chime in with their own first-hand accounts of the events.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Docuseries History's Mysteries explores some of the unsolved legends and myths ingrained in human history that have inspired curiosity and debate through the years. While the series offers viewers plenty to ponder and discuss, the fact that the experts never agree on definitive conclusions to the mysterious topics may confuse and frustrate younger viewers. Plus, the potential for graphic material -- photos of corpses, re-enactments of death, videos of violence, etc. -- rules the show out for little kids.

That said, History's Mysteries does a great job of offering equal time to all sides of each debate, and tween viewers and older will enjoy listening to the experts and weighing the evidence to draw their own conclusions.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the media's role in education. Does this show aim to educate, entertain, or both? Does it succeed? Does mixing entertainment with learning make it more enjoyable -- or effective? What other media sources can be used as learning tools? Should the media be required to provide educational content?

TV details

Cast:Arthur Kent, David Ackroyd
Network:History
Genre:Educational
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of History's Mysteries was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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