History 101 – Netflix Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Fast Food
The Space Race
The Rise Of China
Oil and the Midfdle East
Nuclear Power


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 

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

15 thoughts on “History 101 – Netflix Season 1 Review”

  1. I’ve got as far as the China episode.

    What about episodes on the “United”s – Kingdom & States, along the same lines. What would they say about slavery, imperialism (let’s add France, Spain, …), monarchy, unrepresentative voting systems, corporate lobbying… etc.

    Come on Netflix, if you want to attract subscribers, do “Honest History”. Do it with a team that is diverse in every sense, and willing to get rigorous to just *tell the truth*. We need the truth now so we can stop pretending we’re innocent, sat feeling safe and wealthy because we are allowed to access Netflix and can afford a subscription.

  2. She says the allies have to beat Hitler in the race To create nuclear weapons, yet the date shown is July 16 1945 for the first test was after the defeat of Germany. I’m confused 🤔

  3. They need a fact checker. I noticed two big errors in the first two episodes and quit watching after that. (Colonel Sanders opened the first KFC in Utah??? – that was the location of the first franchise, but the business was obviously started in Kentucky.) It’s as if they did quick google searches on their facts without digging any further after the first result they found. And from the other comments here, there are obviously way more errors. Disappointing and agenda driven.

  4. I mean was it just me or did anyone else realize that in the feminism episode it showed Lyndon B Johnson as president on July 2, 1962 and giving the speech on women’s equality rights it was very inaccurate considering JFK was president until he was assassinated in 1963. Johnson then took office after JFK’s assassination since he was Vice President and actually gave this speech on July 2, 1964. Just wish they could get their facts straight.

  5. I really like the concept of this show, but them claiming that all deaths related to space flight happened during training has completely discredited them.

  6. Like in many other (American) fictional films also in this, cut and paste, fastfood-style ‘documentary’ of which way too many examples already exist on YouTube, ‘America’ equals ‘the entire world’. Only, those docu’s on YouTube are often less pretentious, less inaccurate and much much much less patriotic. This Netflix production should be called ‘Fake history of America for conservative Americans only…101.’ So weird that this is apparently a British production.

  7. In the episode about Nuclear power. Your documentary said that every country that uses Nuclear power has developed Nuclear weapons. Although Canada sold Uranium to the US.
    Canada has never developed a Nuclear weapon.
    As far as I understand it, Plutonium is a by-product of the reaction when Uranium has undergone Fission. Thus if Canada supplies the US with Uranium, It must be used in a Nuclear reactor, then the Plutonium must be extracted from the waste products and purified.
    The Canadian reactors use natural Uranium which is only 0.72% U235 (the part of Uranium that can be split by a neutron) and needs a catalyst to make the reaction happen. The catalyst is heavy water or Deuterium. (water that has has an extra neutron on the Hydrogen atom(hydrogen with one proton and one neutron)). Deuterium slows the speed of the Neutrons that are being directed at the Uranium atoms allowing them to split the U235 atoms.
    The Plutonium produced from the Canadian reactors can not be purified to weapons grade Plutonium .
    The US purify the Uranium to 25-35% before using it in their reactors. The resulting Plutonium can be purified to Weapons grade Plutonium
    The Russians purify the Uranium to more than 75%.
    To stop the reaction in a Canadian reactor you only need to drain the heavy water. However they have graphite rods as a backup
    All other reactors need graphite rods to absorb the neutrons to stop the reaction .
    Because the US and Russian reactors use Uranium with a higher % of U235 (non reactive Uranium is U238) the result was the deserters at 3 mile island and Chernobly.
    Canada has sold it’s reactors to many Countries. Any Country that used Canadian reactors exclusively, can not produce a Nuclear weapon

    The main point is that not all countries that use nuclear power have produced Nuclear weapons.
    And sorry I forgot to include some important information in my first post

  8. Second episode about Space starts off with incorrect factoids stating all 30 deaths have been in training. Was this researched and written by 4th graders? One of the US rockets exploded on take off on national TV! Another space capsule burned up on reentry with pieces spread around southwest US. Sorry but this is such a major fail I am not interested in fact checking the rest of the season.

  9. This series is filled with inaccuracies and unnecessary inject of personal views that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. For example, the claim that “only 8 countries have laws requiring equal rights for women” (none of them being the USA). Or the quip at the start of the space race one. About thirty seconds in, they point out that “all of the shuttle programs in the world combined cost more than stamping out world hunger”. So what? How is that related to the HISTORY of space exploration? And how about STILL CONTINUING TO PROMOTE THE MYTH OF THE WAGE GAP in the feminist episode? It’s 2020 and Netflix is *STILL* perpetuating that myth that has been endlessly debunked, including debunked by Google and the Hilary Clinton campaign. FFS. Come on. Garbage. Time to ditch the netflix subscription. It has doubled in price from $7 to $14 and what used to be amazing content is now barely ever worth while.

  10. Just watched the intro to episode 2 entitled “The Space Race”. At approximately 1:20 into the episode, it claims that all 30 fatalities that have resulted in the space endeavor have happened in training. What about the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia? I do not believe these were training flight.

  11. The space race. The audacity to keep score with the USSR in this episode with a scoreboard. It’s USSR 5 USA 0 until the US lands on the moon – then they roll the scoreboard back to USA 1 USSR 0!!!! Isn’t this about history. Not nationalistic pride. Why do Americans need to score themselves? It really discredits the documentary’s true intent.

  12. The “Oil and the Middle East” episode is full of purely wrong and misleading information. I hope that anyone watching it doesn’t consider it factual in any way.

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