A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Violence & Scariness
Depends on the episode. Many episodes deal partially with war, and some focus specifically on weapons, disasters, etc.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Most episodes have nothing to do with sex, but at least one focuses specifically on "high tech sex" and shows images of sex toys and discussion of sex in a cultural context.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Rare episodes may touch on drugs or alcohol in a historical context.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this educational documentary series covers a broad range of topics; some are completely innocuous, while others touch on more complicated and mature issues, including war, slavery, and sex (images of sex toys and all). That said, even the trickiest issues are dealt with carefully and remain appropriate for most middle-schoolers. Disturbing scenes are usually illustrated using archival photographs and artistic renditions (for instance, the episode on "death devices" shows illustrations of men and women subjected to stoning, the rack, and other early death-sentence methods). Descriptions of death can be graphic, but they're not sensational.
Is It Any Good?
Using so many different materials to tell a particular invention's history ensures that just about everyone in the audience will find something captivating, whether it's the historical documents or the man-on-the-street interviews. For example, the fireworks episode begins by recounting China's invention of gunpowder, then shows original artwork depicting early fireworks displays, and finally moves on to interviews with the current president of the American Pyrotechnics Association -- as well as showing footage of one of the legendary families responsible for some of the United States' most memorable fireworks celebrations.
Parents looking for a way to advance their child's interest in a subject will find a treasure in Modern Marvels -- though it's definitely worth noting that some episodes tackle decidedly more mature topics (one included images of sex toys; others have shown pictures of nuclear bombs being set off and the like) than others. And an hour on a single topic can wear thin for viewers who don't have a particular interest in the subject or related issues.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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