History Channel // 2008 // 470 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // October 2nd, 2009
My name's Terry Schappert. I'm a Green Beret sent on training and combat missions around the world. I'm part of a long line of elite warriors tested in battle. And the only way to reveal their weapons and tactics is to experience them myself.
If there's one constant in history, it's that people really like to beat the crap out of each other. Societies have devoted an incredible variety of ways to achieve this lofty goal and Terry Schappert is there to guide us through history to show us these warrior cultures.
From the Spartans to American Special Forces, Terry Schappert goes around the world and back through time to bring warriors of every stripe into your living room.
There are ten episodes of Warriors: Season 1 on three DVDS:
* "Maya Armageddon"
* "Viking Terror"
* "Barbarian Massacre"
* "Knight Fight"
* "Samurai Showdown"
* "The Last Crusaders"
* "Spartan Vengeance"
* "Zulu Siege"
* "Islands of Blood"
* "Special Forces"
Ye gods, a History Channel show that focuses on history. Surely this is a sign of the End of Days, and 2012 will be our time of judgment.
Warriors has a very narrow focus, disregarding almost every other aspect of culture to zoom in on how we wage war. At the same time, it takes on many different cultures through different periods of time and all over the globe. Whether Schappert is running with the Zulu or reenacting Viking sea battles, he's always got his eye on the weaponry and the strategies these peoples employed.
Any show of this kind is heavily dependent on its host, and thank History that we've got Schappert filling that role. He's a font of enthusiasm who never, ever lets up. Warriors doesn't even really need re-enactors, as he's perfectly capable of acting out the battles singlehandedly himself. He often does, bouncing from one place to the other, waving ancient weaponry while describing what happened. He throws himself into history, as large men named things like Dmitri hit him with weapons and hurl him into walls. Even after he got nailed in the leg with a Mayan axe, Schappert still kept talking about how awesome the Mayans were while his camera crew taped him up. The man is dedicated to his job.
Schappert also balances out the unadulterated joy of swinging an axe with more serious reflections on the fact that these were weapons of war. He obviously feels a deep connection to the men who came before, a point that's driven home when he meets a former special forces soldier who served in World War II.
The variety is also good, with such a wide range of cultures covered. Even if, say, you're sick of hearing about Spartans, the show skims quickly over the Battle of Thermopylae and does a broader view of their whole society instead of doing a more accurate, less snazzy version of 300. Then next week they're talking about lesser-known cultures like the Zulus or the warrior culture of Hawaii. In fact, after the episode on King Kamehameha, I wanted to rush right out and learn lua (Hawaiian martial arts).
Also, rather than blowing their budget on huge reenactment scenes, Warriors relies on living historians, my favorite kind. Those are the guys you see on documentaries with a lot of facial hair, PhDs, and a blacksmith shop in their backyard. They not only know the extensive history behind the broad sword, but also know how to swing it. All the re-enactors also look like locals recruited to do what they'd already be doing. Basically, a bunch of people who match Schappert's enthusiasm for the subject matter.
Basically, it's a series that's heavy on energy, fun, and a vivid enjoyment of history. It's a little light on history, doing a quick and dirty sketch of various historical figures, but it balances out with a heavier focus on the practical applications of what they're talking about.
The extras are a little disappointing. Schappert's commentaries are brief and mainly amount to him talking about how much he enjoyed filming particular episodes. We could tell that, dude. There's also a brief biography on Schappert himself, but it left out the answer to the question I wanted answered: How did a Green Beret go from Green Beret-ing to hosting the show? What was that hiring process like?
Warriors is history at its most fun with an exuberant host and historians who revel in the past. It's a bit lightweight, but it still dishes up the facts in a way that makes it fun to learn.
Guilty of making Judge Charles want to participate in physical activities.
Review content copyright © 2009 Dylan Charles; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 470 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site