Aerial Cities (Smithsonian Channel)

AerialCities

Aerial Cities (Smithsonian Channel) – Premieres 8th April

Showing off the fact the production company has purchased a few drones, this is a programme that shows a 24 hour period of a US city using nothing but aerial shots.

During the programme it shows some of the professions in the city, tourist attractions and places of recreation for the residents, all of which take place at some altitude. As well as this the show goes into some of the history of the city, explaining how it was founded and then showing some of it’s infrastructure.

With the programme being 50 minutes long it is a complete grind to get through and comes over as a rushed idea on how to stitch a load of aerial shots together to make a TV show. It is not enjoyable.

1.1/10

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Guardians Of The Wild (Smithsonian Channel)

GuardianOfTheWild

Guardians Of The Wild (Smithsonian Channel) – Premieres 5th April

Nature docu-series that follows the people that work with endangered animals and help with their conservation.

In the programme it highlights one conservation group as they go through their day-to-day activities. The show follows them as they interact with the animals and what they do to help them survive, as well as how their roles are influenced on the poachers in the area.

Along with the conservation side of the programme the show also goes into the animals that are featured, explaining their biological quirks, how they normally interact in the wild and threats they are susceptible to.

Next to other nature documentaries this is probably one of the more interesting and is reminiscent to Natures Great Race in the way it’s presented. It’s not too bad for what it is.

3.2/10

Wild Castles (Smithsonian Channel)

WildCastles

Wild Castles (Smithsonian Channel) – Premieres 1st September

A nature documentary that looks into the wildlife that is local to a castle ruin in Europe. In the programme it plays out like a regular nature programme where it follows a type of animal and and document how it lives and procreates.

Along with the wildlife aspect, the show also goes through the history of the castle, and the major historical events that occurred there. With some of these events the show ties it in with the native animals, and plots the history of the building up to the point it was finally vacated.

As a hybrid of a nature documentary and a programme about European history, it is a bit of a weird mix but does enough from keeping either aspect from becoming worn out. That said it really is only of interest to a rather specific audience.

2.4/10

The Real Mad Men of Advertising (Smithsonian)

therealmadmenofadvertising

The Real Mad Men of Advertising (Smithsonian) – Premieres 8th January

A programme that looks into the history of the US advertising companies, and shows how advertising campaigns have affected cultural standards and language, along with how the ad people improved the popularity of the brands they worked on.

Along with interviewing historians and people working around the time and showing off the standard stock footage, the show also cuts in clips from Mad Men, who coincidentally recently donated props to the Smithsonian museum. With that they also get interviews from the creator on what advertising people they took inspiration from, and Property Master whose job was to make everything in Mad Men look authentic.

The standard of documentary is on a par with almost anything on AHC, when lots of easily known facts are used to pad out the rest of the programme. It’s all pretty dull.

2.3/10

WWII’s Most Daring Raids (Smithsonian)

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WWII’s Most Daring Raids (Smithsonian)  – Starts 18th September

Documenting a World War 2 mission, the programme analyses how the mission was planned out and executed by using experts to explain the tactics and weaponry used, while the mission is played out by using graphical enactments and excerpts of the soldiers involved diary entries.

Unlike most war programmes this going into deeper details into explaining how the mission had to be adapted on the fly, showing how the original plan compared to what played out, and the numerous problems that we encountered were resolved.

If you like military history then this is an interesting watch.

4.3/10

Sacred Sites (Smithsonian)

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Sacred Sites (Smithsonian) – Starts 12th September

Using the same formula as The Greeks or First Peoples, Sacred Sites gets a few experts together to talk to camera and explain the history, cultural importance and legacy of a chosen religious site.

Along with that there are the usual reenactments and dramatisations, but it feels like a 20 minute show padded out to last 45 minutes.

2.5/10

Hell Below (Smithsonian Channel)

HellBelow

Hell Below (Smithsonian Channel) – Starts 17th July

Documenting the WW2 u-boat skirmishes, where an abundance of archive footage is used along with showing the military tactics used as German and Allied forces engaged each other.

Along with a fair few experts explaining what happened and how they did it, it’s one of the better historical war programme to come out in recent times.

4.7/10