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Series / Modern Marvels

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Modern Marvels is a non-fiction TV documentary series on The History Channel that focuses on educating the audience on a variety of modern technologies, from metalworking processes to hot sauce distillation. Unlike many other documentaries, Modern Marvels doesn't spend all of the episode on history, but also covers present developments in the technology and speculates on what the future may look like.

Modern Marvels first aired on January 1, 1995, and after 20 years on air, the show finally ended on April 11, 2015. However, in 2021, History began airing a retooled version starring Adam Richmond of Man v. Food as host and narrator.

Other former History Series have been made into Modern Marvels episodes, like Tales of the Gun.

There is a series within Modern Marvels called Engineering Disasters, which focuses on things that obviously didn't work. So far there have been twenty-two of these episodes.

History has been uploading entire episodes of Modern Marvels on YouTube. You can watch them over here.

Modern Marvels provides examples of:

  • A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching: During the episode on paint, one man who tests paints for a paint company is required by his job to watch paint dry. He finds it interesting.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Far too many to count, via the show's Engineering Disasters episodes.
  • Narrator: The show's format requires one. Lloyd Sherr (see Stage Names below), is the most common one by far.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: A meta example, as it is frequently experienced by viewers of the show. Who knew an hour devoted to "wood" or "doors" could contain so many interesting facts?
  • Non-Indicative Name: Modern Marvels doesn't always focus on "modern" technologies. One episode focused on the technology behind mummification, which is just about as far from "modern" as is humanly possible within the bounds of recorded history. See also the episode on knives, which (in their flint incarnation) are probably one of mankind's earliest inventions. A large portion of that episode dealt with swords.
  • Stage Names: The main narrator, Lloyd Sherr, is listed in the credits as Max Raphael.
  • Technology Porn: Pretty much the reason for this show.