"10 Things You Didn't Know About" sees the History Channel moving back towards focusing on history rather than the mix of history and reality that the channel has tried (and successfully, with shows like "Pawn Stars") to feature in the last few years. "10 Things You Didn't Know About" is also on History 2 (which is likely a channel that many don't know about), but it's a start in the attempt to offer a little more straightforward education versus edutainment.
Slightly jazzed-up in order to catch the audience's attention versus dry historical factoids, the series follows historian David Eisenbach as he narrates a series of historical factoids (although historical factoids presented with non-PBS things like zippy wipes and sound effects), re-enactments and man on the street interviews (where people on the street are surprised in the first episode to find out that Benjamin Franklin visited sex clubs - Booyah indeed, Benjamin.) Did Franklin really fly the kite as he's family known for? 74% of people in the show's poll were surprised by the answer.
The other shows are similarly enjoyable dives into the secrets of famed historical figures, such as an exploration of FDR's affair with his wife's secretary and a look deeper into the difference between the Rat Pack's glitzy Vegas image and the realities of its members (as well as the fact that the original "Rat Pack" was started by Bogart and Bacall, with the latter coming up with the name.)
The series does a fine job keeping the viewer's interest, given the material, which could easily have come off as dry. Host Eisenbach is also a good choice, as the historian manages to do a very nice job offering an energetic, involving performance as host while not going over-the-top in an attempt to liven up material some may view as dry.
The show's editing is also first-rate, doing a nice job moving between material and occasionally offering interesting tidbits like polls that note what % of the audience didn't know about some of the factoids offered. The series would make for enjoyable educational fare for early teens, as some of the language and subject matter may be a bit much for the youngest viewers.
George Patton 04/09/2012
Pablo Escobar The Mormons 03/26/2012
The Roosevelts 03/19/2012
The OK Corral 03/12/2012
John F. Kennedy 03/05/2012
J. Edgar Hoover 03/05/2012
Benjamin Franklin 02/27/2012
Abraham Lincoln 02/27/2012
VIDEO: "10 Things You Didn't Know" is presented by the History Channel in 1.33:1 full-frame. Presentation quality is just fine, as newer interviews and general footage appeared crisp and detailed, while archive footage looked fine. Some minor shimmer was seen, but the picture was otherwise free of any issues. Colors looked bright and natural, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: Clear, well-recorded stereo soundtrack - it certainly doesn't need more than that, and sounds fine.
EXTRAS: 1 thing you won't find on "10 Things You Didn't Know About": any extras. Well, aside from a relatively minor amount of extra footage. And Spanish subtitles. I didn't know subtitles were an extra.
Final Thoughts: Zippy, informative and entertaining, "10 Things" offers an involving look at many secret factoids about famous figures. Recommended.