More How It's Made
October 14, 2012 8:30 PM   Subscribe

I want to watch more shows like How It's Made. I like that it's dry and information dense. What do you suggest?

Most of the how things are built shows are too reality television for me. I want to actually see how things are made. I could care less about the human story.

I've seen some of the Mark Evans "A _____ is born" shows. Those were reality tv, but you actually learned a little bit about how something was created
posted by gregr to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 67 users marked this as a favorite
"American Restoration" on the History Channel gets into great detail on what goes into restoring the objects.
posted by Melismata at 8:36 PM on October 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

"How do they do it?"
"Build it Bigger"

Both on the Science Channel
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:40 PM on October 14, 2012

The Food Networks Unwrapped shows how different food products are made.

Also there was a UK television series in the 80's/90's called The Secret Life of Machines, which showed the history of an item (like the fax machine or a refrigerator), how the item was developed and how the item worked. Really fascinating stuff.

There is always the Mr. Rogers videos that showed how stuff is made. Like crayons.

watching those Mr. Rogers videos as a kid started my fascination about how things are made
posted by littlesq at 8:53 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Absolutely check out "The Secret Life of Machines". It's a bit older now (made in the late 80s early 90s), but it's great for explaining how everyday stuff is works.

It's actually free to download with the makers blessing - here's a link to a another torrent (haven't tried these links since I downloaded it a few years ago, there might be fresher versions out there).
posted by trialex at 8:59 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

American Restoration is a little too reality tv for my taste.

How Do They Do It looks good.

I had forgotten about Unwrapped! Unwrapped is exactly what I'm looking for.

The Secret Life of Machines looks fun too. Free downloads are a plus!

Thanks everyone!
posted by gregr at 9:06 PM on October 14, 2012

I like Modern Marvels. It's a fascinating show. Subject matter ranges from how grease is made to the history of the corkscrew to really amazing things you never knew about the world's largest front shovel excavator, chain trenchers, money, combat food, and the 200+ year history of food trucks.
posted by prinado at 9:34 PM on October 14, 2012

Industrial Revelations
posted by pompomtom at 9:51 PM on October 14, 2012

As a useful rule of thumb when looking for TV, I find that simply going to the BBC (instead of Discovery etc etc channels) instantly drops the reality-TV quotient and gains more focus on info. Eg, instead of "The Colony", you'd watch "Rough Science".

(I actually kind of see "How It's Made" as fluffy and information-light, but even so, yeah, it's surprisingly hard to find even that much.)

If you can bear the 1970's/80's, I recommend James Burke's Connections. Though it doesn't really get started until the 2nd episode.
posted by anonymisc at 11:08 PM on October 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Slightly on a tangent and hit or miss: The New Yankee Workshop, and The Woodwright's Shop. Both are wood-working crafstman type shows that often go out to some old home or museum and find some old nice piece of hand crafted furniture or other doo-hickey and proceeds to re-create it in some way. The New Yankee tends more to power tools and taking great liberties in the recreation, The Woodwright is more "build it using original period tools and methods"-ish.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:12 AM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'll second Connections. Made for some really interesting viewing in 10th grade history. Occasionally punny, but great stuff.
posted by efalk at 12:49 AM on October 15, 2012

I like this too! and have been making posts on my various collections of these sorts of things,

My collection of all of the movies that showcase molecular biology in 3D that I've found ---- plus an update

For longform explinations of what is going on in terms of current events in various countries there is the Vanguard series on Current TV --- Plus an update

In terms of how things are made, what you really want is Modern Marvels
posted by Blasdelb at 4:45 AM on October 15, 2012

Seconding Industrial Revelations. Not dry, but in a good way. Very info dense..
posted by StephenF at 5:40 AM on October 15, 2012

Nthing Modern Marvels. Another one, virtually identical to How It's Made is called Factory Made.
posted by hypersloth at 5:55 AM on October 15, 2012

I wonder if you can find videos of the segments that Mr. Rogers used to do on his show. Some that I remember were visits to factories which made crayons, umbrellas, and roller skates.

I'm not in a place where I can google around and post links, but I thought I would throw out the idea in case someone knows if they are collected somewhere.
posted by CathyG at 11:49 AM on October 15, 2012

How'd they do that?

Caveat about American Restorations: It's totally scripted, like Pawn Stars and the other Historicky Channel shows. The linked website has before-and-after shots of a Coke machine they supposedly restored that are obviously completely different items. The 'reality' description is actually an indication of fantasy.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:25 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

A little random, but Antiques Roadshow often has nice, meaty detail from the appraisers as they talk about this or that family heirloom. There's sometimes a good bit of history and/or "how it was made" buried in there. Also, Dirty Jobs is good too. (n.b. Not sure if either of these shows are still on)
posted by cmaxmagee at 2:19 PM on October 15, 2012

Seconding The Woodwright's Shop. Roy acts a bit clueless in order to cover the different sides of a given task but more you work wood with hand tools, the more densely info-packed it seems. Later episodes are on demand. This one, about how to make a window, is great. Related note: Chris Schwarz has some great short Youtubes that show how deiffernt processes
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:19 PM on October 15, 2012

I love Modern Marvels. I know the show will be especially good if the title is one word. e.g., "Salt".
posted by andreap at 2:55 PM on October 21, 2012

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