“Inventions That Changed History” – TV Series Review – We Are Movie Geeks

TV Review

“Inventions That Changed History” – TV Series Review

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The Super Soaker Patent on set backdrop lit up blue, in a scene from the Discovery+ TV series “Inventions That Changed History.” Courtesy of Discovery+

Despite the aura of gravitas implied by its title, “Inventions That Changed History” is a six-part documentary series streaming on Discovery+ that is delightfully quite the opposite. It’s a light-hearted look at many mundane-to-silly devices that have made make our lives a bit more enjoyable. Each episode presents the story behind the development of a half-dozen or so items that grabbed the public fancy or improved our quality of life within the past century. The products’ histories are related by a series of narrators, interspersed with a slew of quick takes from comedians and other pop-culture figures.

Comedian Piff the Magic Dragon, Jeff Ross, Flula Borg and “The Simpsons” ‘ Yeardly Smith are some of my own favorites among the many celebs lending their reactions to using the products or facts about their development. Subjects range from kitschy toys (Mr. Potato Head, Super Soakers, Easy Bake Ovens) to useful items (George Foreman Grill, boxed wine, flush toilets, exercise devices), to short-lived fads (pop rocks, fidget spinners, pet rocks), to nostalgia gear (lava lamps and mood rings).

Not all segments will be equally interesting to any given viewer but the presentations are short and perky, so you’ll soon be off to the next one. Viewers of any age will find items evoking fond childhood memories, since the shows cover things from all eras.

The episodes are themed. The first set is water-related; the next showcases food and drink. Those are followed by shows on fun stuff, relics from simpler times, convenience items and workout equipment. Based on the first two episodes available for review, these shows offer interesting and entertaining reminders of many things we enjoyed as kids, or used as adults, or both. The tone of these shows is family-friendly, and might stimulate cross-generational chats about everyone’s respective childhood experiences via some of the items that played a role in shaping them.

Learning is rarely less onerous. At least that’s what I recall from school days of yore.

“Inventions That Changed History” debuts streaming on Discovery+ on Mar. 31 with two episodes, followed by two more on Apr. 7 and the last two on Apr. 14.

RATING: 2.5 out of 4 stars

Jeffrey Ross with big cup of Sea Monkeys, in a scene from the Discovery+ TV series “Inventions That Changed History.” Courtesy of Discovery+