Where Did It Come From?

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Where Did It Come From? TV Poster Image
Glimpse into technology's past is fun for curious families.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show encourages curiosity about history, geography, mythology, and science.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The host shows excitement about the topic he’s investigating and enjoys learning from the experts he encounters.


Some segments deal with violent topics like war, so video clips, photos, and drawings of dead bodies and injured victims are shown. Reenactments also sometimes involve weapons and some injuries.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fascinating investigative series will change the way you think about modern technology, demonstrating how many of our processes today have direct links to those created by ancient civilizations. Although its history-based subject matter and occasional inclusion of violent content like war scenes and weapon use make it inappropriate for young kids, the rest of the family can enjoy it together without worry. 

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What's the story?

In WHERE DID IT COME FROM?, host Michael Guillen investigates the similarities between modern technology and early practices of ancient civilizations. Exploring topics like warfare, agriculture, and medicine, Guillen works with experts in each field to find links that have transcended centuries. His research takes him to the far corners of the globe, where he visits historical sites and gets firsthand experience alongside historians who demonstrate how ancient cultures originated many of the processes still in use today.

Is it any good?

This fascinating series proves that it’s possible to make a research-based show that’s both entertaining and educational. On paper, the topics read like dusty old textbooks (“Masters of the Wind” and “Drilling and Mining,” to name a couple), but spend five minutes with the charismatic host, and it’s easy to get hooked on any of the subjects. Guillen's casual demeanor gives the show a laid-back, unscripted feel that makes it a real treat to take in.

The show’s educational quality is a given, as it encourages viewers to think in broader terms about the origins of luxuries we take for granted every day. It also serves as a window to the past with intricate demonstrations of replicated ancient machines that first allowed access to running water, instigated the production of weapons, and inspired the idea for floating ships. Although the subject matter will bore young kids and select episodes include some photos and reenactments of war and weapon use, it’s a great choice for tweens and teens. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about technology. How does science improve the quality of our life? In what ways does it make us safer and healthier? How does it change how we communicate with each other? Are there any drawbacks to these kinds of advances?

  • How does the research process work? How does the host gather facts? What sources does he use for information? What questions would you like to see researched? Why is it important to understand history? 

  • Do you think this show does a good job of balancing educational content with entertainment? What aspects of it did you find most interesting? Do you feel it gave you a good sense of the time and place in history in which it was set?

TV details

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For kids who love educational TV

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