Undercover History

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Undercover History TV Poster Image
Experts weigh in on long-unsolved mysteries.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show offers an educational look at the scientific process of solving mysteries.

Violence

Some re-enactments of historical mysteries may include battles (with men carrying guns) or crashes, but injuries are usually implied rather than shown.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this documentary series presents evidence and supposition from all sides of some of history's most intriguing mysteries. Expert testimony combines with eyewitness accounts, video footage, and dramatic re-enactments to present various plausible answers to age-old queries. There's very little content that will raise eyebrows here other than a little violence (mostly implied) in war scenes, but the mysterious subject matter and dramatized scenes (though vague) may upset some kids.

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What's the story?

UNDERCOVER HISTORY presents an overview of the theories and supporting evidence that surround some of the most famous unsolved mysteries in history, from the death of Julius Caesar to the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Each episode meshes expert and eyewitness opinions, dramatic re-enactments, and archival photos and video clips to build compelling cases from all sides of the mystery in question, encouraging viewers to weigh all the facts and decide for themselves which ones are the most believable. In the Amelia Earhart episode, for example, longtime researchers lay out the cases for their varied theories, which range from her running out of fuel and crashing into the ocean to a secretive plot by the U.S. government to use her landing on a Japanese-controlled island to monitor the happenings there during pre-WWII years. Experts discuss the physical and testimonial evidence that lead them to their separate theories, including eyewitness accounts of Earhart's arrival on an island in the Pacific Ocean to the recovery of metal some believe is wreckage from her plane.

Is it any good?

In general, impartial experts are brought in to support or refute selected clues to the given mystery; for the most part, there are no hard-and-fast answers to be found here. But compelling storytelling and fascinating puzzle work make Undercover History an intriguing choice for families with older tweens and teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how investigators gather and analyze evidence years after an event. What clues do they follow to uncover information? What kind of evidence do they find? How have recent technological advances helped these investigative efforts? What evidence would it take to put the mysteries to rest once and for all? Which historical mysteries would you like to know more about?

TV details

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