Nostradamus Effect

TV review by
Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media
Nostradamus Effect TV Poster Image
"History" docu emphasizes doom and gloom over facts.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

While the series doesn't make many value judgments, it is all about the doom and gloom of the end of the world -- and it's not pretty. In fact, the show mostly paints a pretty hopeless picture; even as it considers the possibility that we can escape certain prophecies, it's in the context of asking, "Are we too late?"

Positive Role Models & Representations

Few of the talking heads supporting the theories presented in each episode seem to have academic standing or credentials other than having written a book. In one episode, Leonardo Da Vinci is portrayed as a prophet of doom, which kind of undermines his standing as a genius and artist.


While viewers won't see any acts of violence, per se, there are some fairly graphic pictures of blood drops and photos of wars and other plagues.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this downer of a history series is all about various prophecies that have popped up through the ages that might or might not mean the world is going to end. The many scenes of misery, war, and destruction could definitely upset younger children, and the general doom-and-gloom tone of the content could disturb sensitive viewers of any age.

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What's the story?

That human beings have long been preoccupied with trying to predict the future and with predictions of apocalypse is a given. NOSTRADAMUS EFFECT looks at a host of predictions about the end of the world, some of which seem eerily prescient. Most of the emphasis is on the show's namesake, Nostradamus, the 16th-century seer whose work has been used to predict all kinds of events -- including ones that haven't happened yet (like earthquakes in New York City).

Is it any good?

If you're looking for a way to start teaching your kids the very important task of how to assess credibility, Nostradamus Effect is a fine place to start ... but then you'd have to actually watch it, and that may not be a worthwhile trade-off. Most of the talking heads featured on the show have no academic background, and much of their "proof" is based on segments of sentences in larger works that sound eerily omniscient but are in fact so vague that they could mean all kinds of things. All of which is accompanied by spooky music and effects and ominous pronouncements -- such as that the third Antichrist could be even now among us (never mind that the prophecies the show uses to prove the coming of said Antichrist were supposedly fulfilled 200 and 400 years after they were originally made).

The narration claims that that the show doesn't want to prove or refute the prophecies it examines ... but later talks about seeing if we can find the truth. And the supposed historical facts are often merely conjecture. It's nonsense like that that makes you want to throw things at your TV set.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the evidence here supports the claims being made or whether it falls short. Do you think it's possible to prove these prophecies one way or the other?

  • How do we figure out if what we're being told is true? People stretch the truth all the time -- are the "facts" presented on TV always verifiable? How can you check such facts?

  • Could the way the show is edited make it seem as though someone is saying something he or she really isn't? For example, could an expert be giving an example as a prelude to debunking it (with the latter part being left out)?

TV details

  • Premiere date: September 9, 2009
  • Network: History
  • Genre: Educational
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: January 19, 2021

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

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