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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this educational show may appear to be a simple look at warriors and combat, but it actually goes much deeper, delving into many aspects of the different ancient cultures it spotlights, including technological capabilities, economics, religion, and the social hierarchy. Young viewers may be intrigued by the focus on fighting, but they'll receive a surprisingly rich history lesson in the process. The only real content of concern is violence, which is inescapable, as the series does focus on warfare and fighting. Really graphic scenes are rare, but there is some colorful language around the topic ("blood sprays out, bones shatter," etc.).
What's the story?
Terry Schappert -- a Green Beret, Gulf War veteran, and martial arts expert -- knows a few things about fighting. As host of WARRIORS, he learns even more, traveling around the world to study such ancient warrior cultures as the Mayans, the Vikings, the Japanese samurai, and the Spartans. This entertaining educational series brings the long-dead societies to life via interviews with military historians, anthropologists, and weapons scholars, as well as with recreated battle scenes and staged fights using ancient weapons.
Is it any good?
The History Channel has an extensive roster of similar series and has developed a nearly foolproof recipe that blends live-action, insightful narration, and computer graphics. This show is one of the better entries in the genre. Schappert uses weapons and combat only as an entry point, expanding far beyond that narrow focus to explain an entire culture. Describing a tribe's weapons, for example, opens the door to talking about the natural resources that were available to them and the technological capabilities that enabled them to develop lethal tools.
Schappert goes deeper still by examining when and why these warriors chose to fight. Whether it was for personal gain, political power, to gain control over valuable resources, or for religious rituals, each motive shines a revealing light on the complex social structures at work in these long-dead cultures. The battles -- albeit an effective way to grab viewers' attention, especially tweens and teens who will be fascinated by the ancient weapons -- are just the start. By the end of each episode, Schappert has used the warrior lens to deliver a surprisingly comprehensive and engaging lesson.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about war. Why do the ancient tribes in this show choose to fight? What are they hoping to achieve? Do people in the modern world still fight for the same reasons? Do you think these are valid excuses for violence? Does might make right? What, if anything, do you think can justify war?