The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen (History)

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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.

5.7/10

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Hitler’s Circle of Evil (Netflix)

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Hitler’s Circle of Evil (Netflix) – Premieres 22nd February 

Another documentary on that troublesome Austrian and world famous despot Adolf Hitler. Differing from other documentaries, this looks at the people that worked with anf for Hitler, from those that brought him into the Nazi party to the more notorious people Hitler got to form his inner circle.

The programme dramatises the main historical parts of the rise and fall to the Third Reich, where it shows how the Nazi party was first formed by some strange occultist folk who picked Hitler to become their spokesperson due to his public speaking skills. And then showing the backstory of people like HImmler, Goering and Goebbels and how they were brought in and what part they played in the lead up and aftermath of the party achieving power in Germany.

Along with the dramatic reenactments the show intersperses the pieces with interviews with experts who explain the climate of the time and how the party managed to gain popularity. As wells as explaining the reasoning of certain plots formulated by Hitler, and how the success or failure of them influenced the Nazis during their existence.

With the documentary taking a slightly different angle to the regular Hitler based stuff, it’s an interesting watch. And with the opening episode covering a fair amount of pivotal moments keeps it going along at a decent pace.

4.6/10

Death Row Chronicles (BET)

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Death Row Chronicles (BET) – Premieres 20th February 

A docuseries that looks into the the rise and fall of Death Row Records. In the programme it looks into the history of the major players with the label, so in the beginning it primarily looks at Suge Knight. During the documentary it talks to the people that knew him during his childhood through to when he began to get into the music industry.

The programme at the same time shows the causes of the fall out between Dr Dre and Easy-E, and how Suge took advantage of this to form the label. Then the formation of the Death Row it highlights some of the more dubious ways it was initially funded and reenacts a few of the rumoured altercations that became part of its folklore. Along with the reenactments, it also interviews the people involved in them and those working there as they give the varying accounts on what went on.

For a music documentary it’s an interesting watch especially since it does a decent job of trying to separate the mythology from the events that happened. It’s a decent bit of viewing.

6.1/10

Intruders (Animal Planet)

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Intruders (Animal Planet) – Premieres 5th November

A show that recounts to stories of regular folks having to deal with unwanted animal visitors to their homes. The programme gets through three separate stories where those involved narrate through the sequence of events while reenactments are played out on screen.

It’s similar in its delivery to I Was Prey, though while that dealt with animal attacks this is solely focused on folks dealing with infestations and unwanted guests, while explaining how they were dealt with and the after effects it caused.

It’s not the best programme to ever be created though if you enjoyed I Was Prey, this is almost more of the same.

2.4/10

Terror In The Woods (Destination America)

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Terror In The Woods (Destination America) – Premieres 10th October

Using reenactments and narrations from those involved, this is a 45 minute show that covers two stories told by regular folks of supernatural things they’ve encountered in the American woodlands.

It’s a lot like the paranormal shows Paranormal Lockdown, Haunted Case Files & Paranormal Survivor, where it comes over as a sub par campfire tale with the occasional bad special effects. There’s nothing in the programme that would make you want to watch it again and it’s all pretty forgettable.

1.7/10

America: Promised Land (History)

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America: Promised Land (History) – Premieres 29th May – Miniseries

A documentary the looks into the how the different immigrant groups that have settled in America have been part in creating who the country is today.

It starts off with showing a map of the States which shows where the the immigrant groups are clustered around the country, and then goes through highlight in group. With each group the focus on one pivotal immigrants contribution where in between experts being interviewed they reenact what that person contributed to the society at the time.

As a documentary about the historical roots of the US it is interesting, but with it being an hour and a half long to becomes a bit repetitive in its delivery.

4.3/10

Three Days to Live (Oxygen)

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Three Days to Live (Oxygen) – Premieres 5th March

Signalling the beginning of the transfer of Oxygen to crime only programming, Three Days To Live is a docuseries where each episode follows a case where from the moment the crime occurred, the police have three days to have any realistic chance of finding the victim alive.

The show recounts the events from the moment the victim disappears by interviewing family and member of the police involved in the investigation. Along with the interview they also show actual footage, 911 audio clips and reenactments to show what happened during the case.

It similar to other real crime programmes like Copycat Killers and Policewomen Files in the way the story is delivered, so if you enjoy them then this s more of the same.

2.5/10