In the late 1970s the UK's Anglia Television ran a respected weekly documentary series: Science Report.
But when the show was cancelled in 1977, the producers decided to channel Orson Welles in their final episode. The result was Alternative 3
. Over the course of the hour, the audience would learn that a Science Report
investigation into the UK "brain drain" had uncovered shocking revelations: man-made pollution had resulted in catastrophic climate change, the Earth would soon be rendered uninhabitable, and a secret American / Soviet joint plan was in place to establish colonies on the Moon and Mars. The show ended with footage of a US/Soviet Mars landing from May 22, 1962. After Alternative 3 aired, thousands of panicked viewers phoned the production company and demanded to know how long they had left to change planets. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 20, 2012 -
In 1973 and 1975, two one-hour television documentaries aired in the US: In Search of Ancient Astronauts
) and In Search of Ancient Mysteries
). The same producers also put out The Outer Space Connection
) in 1975. All were narrated by Twilight Zone's Rod Serling
. In 1976 a series was developed. Since Serling had passed away in 1975, popular actor Leonard Nimoy was chosen as host. In Search of...
ran for six seasons, from 1976 - 1982, and was devoted to discussing unusual mysteries and phenomena. All 144 episodes can be seen on YouTube. Playlists: Seasons 1 and 2
. Seasons 3 and 4
. Seasons 5 and 6
posted by zarq
on Apr 23, 2012 -
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi
set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi
aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 9, 2012 -
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time
: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing
— foreign affairs
, social trends
, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.)
By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues,
) America’s entry to WWII
. Video samples are available at Time.com,
the March of Time Facebook page
and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required)
at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 22, 2011 -
Some kind soul
recently uploaded, in five parts, a 1991 BBC Omnibus
television documentary about Peter Greenaway
, who never ceases to inspire me in his dedication to push film into new, richly interesting places, to liberate it from its addiction to stale 19th-century psychological narrative and to open it up to accept and incorporate all manner of artistic information it's usually denied. Cleverly titled Anatomy of a Filmmaker
— Greenaway is an enthusiast of the nude human figure, which he sees as the single constant of art — it covers the filmmaker's career from his earliest shorts up through Prospero's Books
. There are bits about the time he spent honing his skills cutting together British propaganda, his experience with painting and his longtime collaboration with Sacha Vierny. It also presents subsections on Greenaway's own inspirational creators, including John Cage and the increasingly-intriguing-to-me R.B. Kitaj.
posted by colinmarshall
on Jun 14, 2010 -
One for the francophones. The French television production agency Capa (no relation) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with excerpts from its best documentaries along with commentary from the reporters that made them. I particularly recommend two that have nothing in common : Vivre et Mourir à Sarajevo (1993) and Les Chouchous du Camping (1991). But be warned, navigation is annoyingly difficult.
posted by Lezzles
on Jan 31, 2010 -
The elegant universe.
A 3 hour PBS NOVA documentary on string theory [in 24 ~5-10 minute chunks of real player or quick time video]. Welcome to the 11th dimension.
posted by srboisvert
on Nov 14, 2003 -
Did anyone watch the PBS show- "Taxi Dreams"? The PBS site is very informative. I enjoyed the video clips in the gallery
. The facts and figures
section was decent. Overall, I thought it was a great way to study the immigrant experience and the American dream.
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy
on Jan 4, 2002 -
Good PBS program alert! Tonight is the premiere of The First Year
, which aims to show "the human side of (American education): the determination and commitment of five novice teachers as they struggle to survive their first year in America's toughest schools." Check your local listings.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to ask the community for thoughts/ideas/cautions/resources for people interested in going into teaching.
posted by msacheson
on Sep 6, 2001 -