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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series explains in detail the role of warriors and warfare in ancient cultures, including the weapons that were commonly used and why they chose to fight. It's a very effective framework to examine the political and social structure of these societies and provides many interesting insights.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of staged brawls as the host and other combat experts demonstrate the use of various ancient weapons. Some sequences feature recreated battles and hand-to-hand fights and can include a few graphic images.
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No swearing, but the host often uses violent phrases as he describes how ancient warriors fought, often to the death. For example, after being struck by a Mayan club, he says "blood sprays out, bones shatter, instant death!"
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Products & Purchases
Historians and researchers appear regularly, and the series mentions by name the schools where they work.
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.).
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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