Modern Marvels is an American worldwide television series that formerly aired on the History Channel. The program focuses on how technologies affect and are used in modern society. It is among History's first, and longest-running programs, having first aired on History's first day of broadcasting on January 1, 1995, and its last episode aired on April 11, 2015.
|Created by||Bruce Nash|
|Narrated by||Max Raphael|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||19|
|No. of episodes||690 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Don Cambou|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Jupiter Entertainment|
|Original network||History Channel, H2|
|Original release||January 1, 1995 –|
April 11, 2015
Modern Marvels has produced over 650 one-hour episodes covering various topics involving (to list a few) science, technology, electronics, mechanics, engineering, architecture, industry, mass production, manufacturing, and agriculture. Each episode typically discusses the history and production of several related items; for instance, an episode on distilled spirits discusses the production of bourbon in Kentucky, scotch whisky in Scotland, and tequila in Mexico. To fit the network's format, Modern Marvels focuses a significant portion of the episode on the history of the subject.
The show began to premiere new episodes in January 2010, not having done so through all of 2009. In August 2010, History Channel began to air older episodes that had been edited to fit a 30-minute time slot, under the title Modern Marvels: Essentials.
In October 2011, Modern Marvels began airing first-run episodes on History 2 (formerly History International) in addition to its main run on History Channel.
Reruns of the series currently air on the digital broadcast network Quest.
Occasionally, Modern Marvels aired a special spin-off called Engineering Disasters. These periodic episodes describe the circumstances of situations in which technology does not work correctly, such as building collapses and airplane crashes, resulting in spectacular (and sometimes fatal) failures. Including an episode on New Orleans and another on the 1970s, 24 original Engineering Disasters episodes have been on Modern Marvels. The packaging on the box set of Engineering Disasters 4-20 plus New Orleans describes the series as such: "Dark clouds with silver linings, Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters presents the tragic, yet invaluable, handmaidens of technological progress."
Distinct from other History Channel series, the introduction of Modern Marvels features visuals and sounds of a bolt being turned by a ratchet wrench, followed by a partially computer-generated sequence involving construction workers building and hanging the title.
The History Channel has repackaged some episodes that originally aired in other series and stand-alone specials into episodes of Modern Marvels, such as Ice Road Truckers, which originally aired in 2000 as part of the series Suicide Missions. These episodes are not narrated by Raphael.