The Space Race
The Rise Of China
Oil and the Midfdle East
In theory, History 101 is actually a really interesting and clever concept; bite-size segments of history chopped up across 20 minute episodes to give a taster of different historical topics. Those expecting content like the Romans, Mesopotamia, Greeks or even World War II will be left disappointed by the slightly misleading title as this is actually geared closer to hot-button social topics.
From the rise of fast food and its correlation with worldwide obesity across to the feminist movement and plastic pollution, History 101 is informative, interesting but just a little bit politically charged in its agenda driven writing. The topics themselves are varied and interesting but ultimately lacking in much depth, as you may expect from a series featuring 20 minute episodes.
In a way it’s actually fitting that the series begins with the topic of fast food as that’s exactly the best way of describing History 101. Having watched a lengthy documentary yesterday about AI called “We Need To Talk About AI” and previously watched other documentaries on these different topics, some of these bite-size segments are simply introductory, breezy starter points to whet the appetite.
If you’re interested in any of these topics though, History 101 is a nice idea in theory but poorly executed. As a jumping off point for some of these topics History 101 isn’t a bad shout and some of the individual episodes (like the aforementioned robot and fast food segments) will almost certainly do enough to see you hunting for more lengthy alternatives. By comparison, the nuclear energy episode excludes the fact nuclear energy is actually pretty safe and the feminism movement depicts it started in 1970’s (it didn’t, it started around the 1850’s).
Stylistically, every episode is packed with colourful infographics and lots of facts to digest. These come thick and fast through the series and with a lack of talking head segments, the series instead relies on archived news segments to pepper out the run-time. Some of these are quite interesting though and you’ll almost certainly come away learning something new.
It’s not the best documentary series out there but it’s just about good enough to jump into and digest an episode or two at a time. Some of the bias is a little distracting and there’s certainly a whiff of biased writing here as the topics of global warming and capitalism spill over to numerous episodes. If there’s a second season to this though, here at TheReviewGeek we genuinely hope History 101 explores historical topics as this format is perfect for those ideas.
Published: 22 May 2020 at 16:02 pm on TheReviewGeek.com
Verdict - 5.5/10