In every major metropolis, skyscrapers loom above, taxis and vendors clamor at street level, and subways rumble below. But deeper beneath the hectic surface lie other, silent worlds, each with its own mysterious and fascin... more »ating history.
CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD peels away the layers of time--often literally hundreds of feet thick--to expose the incredible pasts lurking beneath some of the most populous cities on earth. Throughout the world, cities such as Paris, New York, Rome and Shanghai all harbor long-submerged networks that once served crucial functions, from eerie catacombs to clandestine hideouts and ancient aqueducts to underground societies. Now, THE HISTORY CHANNEL examines these mysterious realms, from the technological feats of their construction and the myths and lore that have cloaked these subterranean marvels for centuries.
On DVD for the first time, experience all 13 episodes from the debut season of this top-rated series. Featuring rare location hi-definition footage, THE HISTORY CHANNEL shows a world filled with mysteries and secrets just below the ground we walk on.
DVD Features: Pilot Episode Istanbul ; Deleted Scenes
Great topic but very incomplete coverage and annoying hosts.
Philo | Montreal QC | 01/08/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fascinating topic but the coverage of each city seems so incomplete! For example, the episode on NYC doesn't even mention the mole people. How can they talk about what goes on under NYC without even a single word about the thousands of people who live underground?! Perhaps the folks at the History Channel made a decision to leave the viewer wanting more, but I think they should have committed to two episodes (or three or four) for most cities. I also wonder why the city of Portland, Oregon is included in this set when there are so many cities around the world with more interesting stories to tell. It seems out of place in this series: London, Paris, Edinburgh, Rome, Naples, Budapest, Berlin... and Portland, Oregon?!? What were they thinkin'? And the two hosts of the show are less than stellar -- Eric Geller refuses to step aside to let us enjoy the footage of caves, sunken cities, lost art, and long forgotten worlds. He's always front and center, over-enthusiastically saying something either obvious or stupid. The second host, Don Wildman, is distracting with his constant "Oh my God!" and bleeped out swearing. (This shows poor editing -- if Don can't contain himself, why bleep the offending words rather than just removing them?) I'm not sure why the History Channel went with these "regular guy" hosts rather than someone more educated and/or credible, perhaps someone with more reverence for ancient artifacts, early engineering and architecture, and an understanding of their place in history. But despite my many criticisms, all in all, this is a great series based on the concept and footage (hats off to the cameraman!), and I think most people would find it interesting and educational. I certainly learned a lot about world history from this series and I am eager to do some reading to learn more."
Well done and fascinating stuff for the everyman
RonAnnArbor | Ann Arbor, MI United States | 02/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These episodes are addictive, and I was thrilled to see them released on DVD, as my DVR was too full to keep them and I enjpy repeat viewings....and so do my students.
Note that this is NOT PBS-babble -- it's a fun exploration of the underground of major (and some minor) cities. It's written and performed for the everyman, not for the scholar (many of whom have already seen these things themselves). The hosts are alternately fun, annoying, and intrusive. Like a personal buddy might be if he was guiding you underground. This is obviously directed that way, since Don Wildman is a trained professional actor and Eric Geller is normally softspoken and introspective -- here both are "in awe" a lot.
The camera work here is absolutely stunning -- as they explore underground, you forget that there is a camera crew attached to the project, lighting the walls, lighting everything you see. It is truly amazing camera work.
So Paris includes the highly-tourist travelled Catacombs...and NYC includes the Waldorf-Astoria presidential track (are there New Yorkers that still don't look out the windows of the subway or Metro North and see those things for themselves?) but it also includes the mysterious M42 subbasement, and a cool look at the Empire State Building basement. Best Episode: Dracula's Underground and the Pilot Episode: Istanbul (amazing). Worst Episode: Portland.
These are completely entertaining, and include cities and town that you might normally not know about and see. They are also left wide-open for repeat visits to larger cities (there have already been two Rome episodes for example) and they could do countless Paris underground episodes.
If you have already seen the series, you will be as hooked as most of us who can't wait for each new episode. If you are new to the series, download an episode from Amazon or iTunes and you will most likely be as hooked as the rest of us, then you can purchase the entire set.
This is genuinely one of the few tv dvd box sets that I bought the day it came out. Of course, containing only 10 1/2 hours of programming it had all been watched two days later."
Interesting, but lacks detail
Gift Card Recipient | 10/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This has proven to be a very interesting TV show, but it lacks a lot of detail about any of the locations. It seems to be rushed."
I love this show!
Richie | Los Angeles, CA | 02/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recently saw this program on the History Channel. They are currently screening series 3. I liked the show so much I wanted to see the past ones, so I picked up this season 1 box set. It is great value as you get many episodes, each about 40 minutes long. Who would know what lies beneath our cities?? My favorite episode on this season was probably Paris. This is very educational and a great resource to keep in your DVD collection.
Half way through the season they switch presenters from Eric Geller to Don Wildman. I personally prefer Don Wildman. Throughout the whole time watching it, I liked Don Wildman's jacket. I managed to track it down to an Abercromie Sentinel jacket and ordered one for myself online.
I have my pre-order in for season 2 now.."
Lures you in, has become our show for family night
pOOdle mOmma | Fort Wayne, IN United States | 03/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the first time I saw the episode trailer I was hooked; it makes you long for more. Sometimes I feel like fewer suspenseful replays would allow for more information to be inserted and that is probably my only complaint. However the host is a bit self-centered and annoys us. I think they were concerned with the cool/hip image of him to attract younger viewers, but he is annoying.
I look for the series to be awarded some recognition for their ability to document historical places which have never before been aired on television. Sadly, most are old, and crumbling and are not being preserved. SO the value of this series is truly priceless. Still each time I see a new episode it renews my enthusiasm to travel to Europe some day. This is a hit, and would be a great program to incorporate into any school-based curricila. Well done.
I am buying one to give as a gift to someone who does not have access to the History Channel. Thank you for instilling a passion and interest for history into my kids. I never though it would happen."