Learn about manufacturing from the inside out.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This educational series casts light on the ingenuity involved in creating and processing everyday objects -- and in doing so encourages curiosity about the world.

Violence & scariness

Occasional war footage shows shooting and explosions.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

"Damn" is infrequent.


Brand names (Pepsi, Coors, etc.) are shown during the manufacturing process on featured items.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In a segment about aluminum cans, some sport beer brands.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that curious tweens are sure to enjoy this intriguing documentary series' close-up look at how everyday objects are made. Viewers learn about collecting and refining natural resources, the engineering breakthroughs that speed up production, and the inner workings of massive machines that effortlessly churn out vast quantities of things. This is a great series for families to enjoy together, though little kids may zone out pretty quickly if they're not fascinated by machines.

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What's the story?

MAN-MADE shows viewers what goes into producing the kind of everyday items most of us usually don't think about all that much. From excavating the required natural resources to packaging final products, each step in the items' creation is explained and illustrated in detail. Experts in everything from engineering to advertising comment throughout each episode, shedding light on the evolution of the production process and piecing together the history of the featured item.

Is it any good?


Man-Made will give you a new appreciation for what it takes to make things you probably take for granted (like aluminum cans, for example). It also, perhaps unconsciously, makes a strong case for recycling by including information about the diminishing supply of the earth's resources -- and estimates of when those supplies might run out. Viewers may even get a brush-up course in economics (remember the law of supply and demand?) when episode content touches on the affordability of products made readily available by lightning-fast production. The show is a perfect fit for inquisitive viewers who like to know how things work, so curious tweens and teen will find a lot to like here; with the educational nature of the series, parents probably will, too.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the manufacturing processes seen in each episode. How have scientific advances affected how everyday items are made? How is the process easier than before? How has products' quality changed? What about their cost and uses? Or the quantity and types of human jobs associated with the production process? Is all of this good, bad, or both? Do you think less about how something was made or what went into creating it if it's cheap and easy to buy? How does the media play into that perception?

TV details

Network:National Geographic Channel
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Man-Made was written by

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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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