Kingpin (History)


Kingpin (History) – Premieres 11th March

A crime documentary where each episode looks in to the rise and fall of a famous historical kingpin. As it focuses on the main incidents that defined their rise using the time tested format of dramatic reenactments and stock footage.

The show starts with going into the history of the organisations that were around before the soon-to-be kingpin entered the fray. Where former gang members, police officers and author/historians are interviewed to explain the how the landscape of the area changed allowing the subject of the episode to go up the ranks.

It then focuses on the main incidents, where it shows how certain decisions ended up aiding the individual and how they manipulated associates and government officials to their advantage. 

Unlike many crime documentaries there’s very little shown in the ways of what the person got up to while actually in charge. Solely concentrating on the ascent, to the point where even the downfall is briefly shown. That said for an hour and a half long episode to is an interesting watch that goes along at a decent pace.



Truck Night In America (History)


Truck Night In America (History) – Premieres 8th March

An off-roading competition where five folks bring their trucks to the track and go head to head in the chance to win $10k. The show starts of with virtually no introduction as the five competitors line up for the first round of challenges. After a very brief description of the trucks, the round kicks off where the person who finishes last is eliminated. Though the eliminated person does have a chance of continuing if any of the cars have have a mechanical failure and can’t proceed to the next round.

Before round two kicks off, the remaining four competitors are introduced and they talk about their truck. After that the four hosts of the programme each pick a truck, where they will become the mentor for the remainder or the show. Then when the second round is complete and another person eliminated, the remaining three get the first of two pit breaks where they have an hour fix any problems on their vehicles.

The third round comes and goes whittling the field down the last two trucks standing, where after the second pit stop, get to take on the final round. In the final they vehicles go on the “Green Hell”, an obstacle course designed to push the trucks to the limit. The winner ends up being the person the can get their truck around the course in the quickest time, or if both vehicles fail in that, the winner is whoever got the furthest around the course.

The show is no nonsense in its approach with each round being introduced and then getting straight on with the competition. And the final round is like a motoring version of the Skull Buster in Broken Skull Challenge, where it’s set up to be the ultimate test and each obstacle is given it’s own name. That said, the whole mentoring aspect comes over as a bit pointless and when the rounds are in progress there’s too much cutting back to the the hosts, which takes away from getting into the competition.

That said, it’s still an entertaining bit of trashy programming.


The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen (History)


The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen (History) – Premieres 7th March

A docudrama that shows the pivotal parts of American history as the frontier was expanded west, from before the Civil War through to the gold rush. And expansion of the country as they reached California.

In the show it follows the main people who were important in the westerly expansion. Where it shows how they dealt with the native Americans, who were naturally peeved with the invasion on their land. And why they headed west in the first place and the problems they had just surviving at the best of times.

Along with dramatising the main points of the story, historians are interviewed to explain the conditions the frontiersmen would have faced, how their camps would have been built and how the conflicts they found themselves in were fought.

While it’s well made and the actual history it goes into is interesting. With the episode running at an hour and a half as well as the slow pacing of it all, it does feel it would have been better breaking it up into 45 minute episodes.



The Curse Of Civil War Gold (History)


The Curse Of Civil War Gold (History) – Premieres 6th March

Treasure hunting fun where after spending years in researching the possible location of lost confederate gold that is valued in the millions. Kevin Dykstra and his team reach out to Marty Lagina of Oak Island fame about the possibility of him helping out funding their expedition.

After meeting up with Marty where he states that he could be interested, but only if they can produce some evidence that supports their theory. This leads the team to head out to the supposed site where the gold was taken by the Union and hidden until after the war.

To help out with the search Marty sends out metal detector extraordinaire Gary Drayton, where after spending a day in field manage to find a confederate silver coin they feel supports their case.

With the show being a spinoff of sorts it does have the same feel as The Curse of Oak Island, though the team behind the search don’t have the same level of watchability as the Lagina brothers. And with the gold having a pretty clear history itself, limits the chances of the more crazy theories that pop up on Oak Island occurring.

All in all it’s watchable enough, though doesn’t have anywhere near the same appeal as some of the other treasure based show that have come out recently.



Buried: Knights Templar and the Holy Grail (History)


Buried: Knights Templar and the Holy Grail (History) – Premieres 31st January – Miniseries

A docu-series where former member of the British army and now military strategist and journalist, Mikey Kay, teams up with archeologist and former US Marine Garth Baldwin as they investigate what happened to the Knights Templar after they disappeared in 1307.

After scouting out some cave carvings that appear to have been made by the Templars after the date they were supposedly wiped out. The pair begin their investigation in looking at how the Templars survived previous attempts from rival factions to eradicate them.

This leads them to visit the sites of the known battles the Templars were defeated at, where they look at how they managed to escape and keep the Order intact. When they arrive at the location the programme recaps on the sequence of events that led to the Templars to become under attack and puts forward some of the possibilities on how they survived. Along with having an expert on the Templars filling in the gaps of the story and highlighting over examples of the tactics being used by them.

Mikey and Garth then examine the sites, occasionally with the help other archeologists, where they discover possible evidence that the routes were used by the Knights. And then trying to plot out where they would have gone after evading their enemies, and how they would regrouped, all the while finding possible evidence that supports the theories.

As a docu-series go the structure of the programme is in the same vein as shows like Tesla’s Death Ray: A Murder Declassified, where experts try to piece together the story. And for what it is, it’s not too bad a way to burn through 45 minutes if you like that sort of thing.



Days That Shaped America (History)


Days That Shaped America (History) – Premieres 28th January

A docu-series where in each episode it looks into a pivotal incident in Americas recents history and interviews the people that were involved in it.

Using footage from the actual event, the programme goes through the events that led up to the incident. Where those involved recount the potential problems that were noticed in the build-up and the fears they had when they realised that their concerns appeared to be brushed off.

It then goes through the day of the incident where the failures in the correcting the problems raised are highlighted, and how it started the chain reaction which led to the event to be caused. After showing the footage of the incident the programme then interviews the family and co-workers on what happened during those moments and how it effected them afterwards. Along with showing how the faults discovered led to reviewed safety processes going forward.

As docu-series go is pretty interesting.



Knightfall (History)


Knightfall (History) – Premieres 6th December – Renewed

Set just after the Knights Templar escaped the Battle of Acre while protecting the Holy Grail. The show follows the knights fifteen years later where they are stationed in Paris.

Within the ranks one of the knights, Landry, has become disillusioned with what he sees as the order not protecting the religious groups within Paris. As well as their unwillingness on returning the the Middle East to protect the passage for the pilgrims, and to get back the Grail which was lost during their escape.

After the murder of the orders Master, Godfrey, while out on a clandestine solo mission. Landry is informed that he is now in charge. And after a map is found in Godfreys sword showing the location of the Grail, Landry begins lead the knights in their return to the Holy Land.

For a piece of historical fiction this isn’t anywhere near the quality of programmes like Vikings. And the story itself comes over as disjointed, leading it to be a dull bit of viewing.