Network: National Geographic Channel
Genre: Reality TV
TV Rating: TV-14
Other Choices: Antiques Roadshow, How It's Made, Hollywood Treasure
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: Weapon docuseries mixes history and salesmanship.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lords of War offers historical details about weapons and military-related items from collectors who are excited about them. It features occasional references to violent activities (including murder), slow motion close-ups of weapons being fired, detonated, and/or operated, and the destruction it causes (but this is done in a safe and monitored environment where no one gets hurt). Occasional curses ("s--t") are bleeped.
- Families can talk about the history of weapons throughout the ages. Why are people interested in collecting these items, even though they aren't used today? How have our needs for weapons changed over the centuries? What lessons can people learn from this history?
- Why does this show offer visual demonstrations of the damage some of these weapons can cause? Is it to educate, or is it for entertainment? Do these demonstrates have the same potential impact on viewers than other kinds of violence featured in the media?
What's the story?
LORDS OF WAR is a reality series that follows weapons collector and auction house owner Sean Rich as he travel across the country to find antique weapons and military equipment to assess, purchase, and sell at auction. Along with gun expert Jim Green, master bladesmith Larry Harley, and modern firearm expert Adrian Alford, he meets with various weapons owners who are hoping to learn their item's potential market value. From Civil War rifles and Viking armor, to ancient German cross-bows used by assassins, Rich and his team offer some historical background on the items they come across and an estimated price for each of them. Additional experts are brought in when more authentication is necessary. They also take time to fire, detonate, and/or operate some of the weapons they come across. After a week of looking for finds, items are auctioned off, with Rich's team earning 15 percent of the sale if the purchase price matches or surpasses the original estimate.
Is it any good?
Lords of War offers a combination of background and mechanical information about the wide variety of weapons and military machinery used throughout history. It also highlights the kinds of things that give these collectibles their value today, as well as the process by which items are authenticated.There's a bit of drama, thanks to the slow-motion close-ups of the weapons and the damage they cause when used during a demonstration and/or test run. The bidding process during auction also adds a little tension. Nonetheless, there's definitely something to be learned here, even if you don't find these kinds of collectibles inspiring.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Weaponry is presented positively. The craftsmanship and historic use of various weapons and military equipment is discussed, but the consequences of their use is not.
Role Models: Rich and his team are knowledgeable and informative, but at the end of the day they also want to make money off of a sale. Not much racial or gender diversity on display.
What to watch out for
Violence Weapons are fired, detonated, and or operated to show the damage they can cause, but this is done in a safe environment and no one is hurt. Historical accounts occasionally detail what the weapons were used for; quick conversations about wartime, assassinations, etc. are common.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: Occasional words like "s--t" are fully bleeped.
Consumerism: The series is a promotional vehicle for Sean Rich's company, Tortuga Trading, Inc. The logo is prominently shown on his clothes.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue