Picks and Pans Review: Battles BC

updated 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/16/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

History, March 9, 9 p.m. ET |

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This entertaining new history series about ancient warriors borrows its look from the hit movie 300, with CGI landscapes of brawny gore under cloud-scrimmed skies. But the effects here, judging from the premiere episode about Rome's mighty nemesis Hannibal, are a bit cheaper. When one of his elephants takes a tumble down the Alps, it looks like a stuffed toy dropped from a baby's crib. Still, the narrative is lively and clear, and you'll learn stuff. The next time you're challenged to name the sole pachyderm that survived Hannibal's bloody efforts, you can say it's Surus.

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