Tubegazing: Engineering An Empire and City of Factories

Engineering An Empire (The History Channel, Oct. 9, 9 p.m.): Ever wonder how the Egyptians built the pyramids? Or set up those towering obelisks long before construction teams had Caterpillars and cranes? Coming off its hit special on the construction of Rome, the History Channel launches a new series, "Engineering an Empire" (r.), to answer those questions. A two-hour special on Egypt kicks off the weekly, hour-long series that will cover the major civilizations (Russia, China, Greece, etc.). Dramatized with appropriately bone-weary Egyptian workers hauling big stones, and narrated by actor Peter Weller, the show walks through the how and why behind the massive building projects that cemented the rule of history's first major empire. Grade B
– Gloria Goodale

Maquilapolis: City of Factories (PBS, Oct. 10, 10 p.m.): As part of PBS's "P.O.V." series, 'Maquilapolis' is told from the perspective of women factory workers fighting to recoup severance wages and draw attention to environmental devastation being wreaked on their community on the US-Mexican border. The women's video diaries speak for themselves, making some of the documentary's artistic flourishes – a shot of disembodied smocks floating on a clothesline – feel heavy-handed in their attempt to underscore the commodification of workers by multinational corporations. Still, it's a timely insight into the border's sweatshop factories. Grade B
– Teresa Méndez

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