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"Ancient Inventions" City Life (1998)

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Once again, proof that what's old is new.

8/10
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
16 July 2012

In recent years, Monty Pythoner Terry Jones has created a wonderful niche for himself on television. His historical documentaries are fantastic--highly original, fascinating and a bit funny. He's managed to re-examine and breath life into such topics as the Crusades, life for the average Roman, the Middle Ages--among others. Here with "Ancient Inventions", Jones is back with a short series (only three episodes) all about ancient technology. His purpose--to show folks of old WEREN'T stupid and their advances led to the advances of today.

This particular episode of the mini-series is about city life. Like his other episodes, Jones contends that so much of what we expect to be modern about cities is, in fact, quite old. In other words, folks of old weren't stupid and managed to live, in some ways, rather modern-style lives. He discusses a wide variety of topics that include: high-rises, fire fighters, aqueducts, concrete, taxi meters (COOL), the steam engine, roads, street lights, coin-operated machines and toilets. Throughout all this, he hops the globe and maintains his slightly anarchic sense of humor--making the show very watchable. It's also occasionally surprising, as some of the ancient inventions were surprisingly innovative. Well worth seeing--and probably the best of the three shows in the series.

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