Cities of the Underworld

Season 1 Episode 9

Beneath Vesuvius

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jun 18, 2007 on The History Channel
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Beneath Vesuvius
Naples, Italy narrowly escaped meeting the same fate as its neighboring city, Pompeii in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius wiped out everything around it. The wind saved Naples that day, but life in the shadow of this massive volcano is unlike any other--and so is its underground.moreless
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  • A new host takes the helm... sort of.

    This was the first episode to feature the series' new host Don Wildman, taking up the reins from an inexplicably departed Eric Geller.

    Unfortunately, the transition proves not to be a particularly smooth one, principally due to the decision by, one assumes, the History Channel to make the new host a clone of the old one, down to precisely replicated mannerisms, vocal stylings, and even wardrobe. As the two hosts are presented on the show, Wildman's only notable differences with Geller--a lower speaking volume, a far more forced enthusiasm, and a smaller vocabulary--do not speak well for the new host.

    Wildman's stock reactions to the often incredible things he's shown: "Oh my god", "Wow", and "Cool," played out in an endless loop. That's virtually his entire repetoire, and nowhere are they more apparent--and more painful--than in this episode.

    In spite of the remarkably poor decisions with regard to the new host (which I have to believe came from the History Channel, and not the host himself), "Cities of the Underworld" remains informative, and often fascinating. The locations under examination virtually sell the show all by themselves, and Naples is certainly more than capable of doing this. Unfortunately, this episode would mark the point at which the locations would, more and more, be forced to begin selling the show, as its soul seemed to have departed with Eric Geller.moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Emperor Nero tried several times to kill his own mother. He made a leaky boat to drown her and a collapsing bead to crush her, but she survived. Finally, he sent an assassin to club her to death.

    • The culture of Pompeii included phallic worship. A number of erotic frescoes and votive objects were found among this ancient Roman city's ruins.

    • Hundreds of small taverns were uncovered in Pompeii. These outdoor stands near the public baths were reportedly the haunts of the town's most disreputable people.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Don Wildman: In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted decimating the city of Pompeii and everything in its path. But one city survived to tell the tale, Naples. Today the volcano still looms, ready to erupt at any moment. But to find the real story of what happened here, you have to go underground. We'll reveal ancient Greek caverns covered in a secret code, and tombs left behind by the cult of the dead. Aqueducts turned wartime bunkers snake for hundreds of miles beneath the city streets, and Emperor Nero's 2000 year old stomping grounds are the foundations for an entire street above. And a forgotten underground city is exposed. The world the volcano created above is nothing compared to the one below. We're peeling back the layers of time on Cities of the Underworld: Beneath Vesuvius.

  • NOTES (0)


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