Into the Unknown – The Secrety Life of Gladiators (01×01)

Fresh off of Digging for the Truth adventurer Josh Bernstein leaves the confines of History and moves his exploration to The Discovery Channel in Into the Unknown a kind of reboot of Digging where Josh takes on a subject and meets with various experts to get to the bottom of burning questions, as well as participating in some reenactments.

The premiere episode deals with Gladiators and how Hollywood’s portrayal of them may not correctly match up with how they lived and fought in Ancient Rome. As a reference, Bernstein mentions the Kirk Douglas vehicle Spartacus in making Gladiators slaves, fighting for their lives, and fights ending in death nearly 100% of the time. However the reusing of the same clips from the film does become boring and there’s no mention of the Hollywood gem of gladiator movies, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Whether it is a rights issue or not springing the money for the crème de la crème of gladiatorial combat would have certainly aided the program.

Bernstein is his usual charismatic self able to interview the experts and get his hands dirty fighting with wooden weapons and sawing bones to pieces.

A few misconceptions are brought into light such as Gladiators being akin to Hollywood royalty with worshipers and groupie’s. Experts now believe they were vegetarians and almost certainly survived each and every fight they were in, which doesn’t make for good movies, hence when we usually see them decapitated by a crusty Australian.

Into the Unknown treads on the same waters as Bernstein’s old stomping grounds on History but his role as a host who gets into the trenches and tries to live in the mystery is what sets him apart from similar shows. Future episodes will focus on Noah’s Ark, the origins of life on Earth, and how elephants are killing humans in Africa. You can’t go wrong with a great host and interesting subject matter, but Into the Unknown isn’t breaking any barriers into the unknown TV landscape.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!