Connections
December 9, 2010 9:59 AM   Subscribe

James Burke's popular television show Connections is available in its entirety online. Connections, which ran in 1978, was a unique take on the question of historical and scientific advancement. From wikipedia: "The series traced paths of invention and discovery through their interrelationships in history, with each episode chronicling a particular path, usually in chronological order. ... It was followed by the 20-part Connections2 (1994) and then the 10-part Connections3 (1997) series. Later, it was shown in more than 50 countries and appeared in about 350 university and college curricula. Additionally, the book that followed the series was also a best seller."

From the main link above, the show "explores an 'Alternative View of Change' (the subtitle of the series) that rejects the conventional linear and teleological view of historical progress. Burke contends that one cannot consider the development of any particular piece of the modern world in isolation. Rather, the entire gestalt of the modern world is the result of a web of interconnected events, each one consisting of a person or group acting for reasons of their own (e.g., profit, curiosity, religious) motivations with no concept of the final, modern result of what either their or their contemporaries’ actions finally led to. The interplay of the results of these isolated events is what drives history and innovation, and is also the main focus of the series and its sequels."
posted by SpacemanStix (76 comments total) 204 users marked this as a favorite
 
"The Leisure Suit of Wisdom" returns! Yay!
posted by gimonca at 10:02 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Awesome! Well, there goes my weekend....
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:04 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]




Sweet, I'd been watching these in multi-part form on YouTube for a while. I was first introduced to these when I found VHS copies at my local library and rented a few out of boredom. If you are a history geek, or a technology, sociology, or anthropology geek, check out an episode - you'll get hooked!
posted by chaff at 10:06 AM on December 9, 2010


Don't forget The Day The Universe Changed, also by James Burke.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I got hooked on Connections 2 back in the day, I didn't know about the other series. Thanks!
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2010


Don't forget "The Day the Universe Changed", which came after the First Connections series. I think it was better than Connections 2 and 3, as the later Connections series were somewhat more of a 'Connections Lite' for the general American audience.
posted by chambers at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2010


Also on Netflix, BTW. (And on DVD at my local library. YLMV.) In November I wrote about watching them again.
posted by epersonae at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2010


This is the dumbest history program ever. It establishes "connections" which actually never existed and gives the false impression that certain events were connected, even though the connections laid out are usually entirely superficial.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:11 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Swapping out this old thread from my favorites.
posted by Eideteker at 10:12 AM on December 9, 2010


Remember when TLC and Discovery had these programs on? Now we've evolved to John and Kate and Swamploggers. Much like Sting, I used to believe in science, progress
posted by Basin and Rage at 10:13 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck yes. Thanks.

I got hooked on Connections 2 back in the day, I didn't know about the other series.

The original Connections is way, way better, IMO.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:17 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The YouTube user JamesBurkeWeb, who posted the original Connections series that is circuitously linked above, has posted ten episodes of The Day The Universe Changed, 20 episodes of Connections² (1994), 10 episodes of Connections³ (1997), and a collection of 10 other recordings, including Re-Connections (consisting of an interview of Burke and highlights of the original series, for the 25th anniversary of the first broadcast in the USA on PBS; more info here).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


I knew I heard the term "technology trap" somewhere. This is great. Thanks!
posted by eastofottawa at 10:22 AM on December 9, 2010


Ironmouth - London is east of New York, and using a compass can help you find one from the other. That doesn't mean the compass is the point of the trip. It's a means of navigating history.
posted by Nothing at 10:25 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


It establishes "connections" which actually never existed and gives the false impression that certain events were connected, even though the connections laid out are usually entirely superficial.

I looooved the show as a teen. When I watched it again later, I noticed a few of these loose connections but didn't really care that much. Just now I realized that's why he didn't call it "Causes". A connection doesn't have to be a linkage.
posted by DU at 10:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ironmouth - some episodes were like that, and their value was in the trip, not the compass, as Nothing point out.

But in a few episodes, all of the dots did connect into an astonishing picture... the most notable of these, to my mind, being the episode where he connected dirty underwear in the renaissance to the development of the personal computer, a tour of the economic and industrial forces at play in developing automation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:34 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


One thing I recall was Burke talking about some 19th century scientist who had a penchant for roasting mice in his fireplace and eating them on toast - Burke called him a "weirdo". I can't recall which series this was from or who the mouse-eating scientist was though.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:35 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Watched these a year or two ago. Excellent stuff.
posted by _Lasar at 10:36 AM on December 9, 2010


One more note about the YouTube User JamesBurkeWeb: they may or may not have the rights to publish these videos. I only mention that because of what their user profile says:
This site's purpose is to promote and discuss the views and ideas of Mr. James Burke through his famous series "The Day The Universe Changed" and "Connections" 1,2,3.

The BEST way to support these shows is to purchase them. Those that can afford it can do so here (links to a "documentary video" webshop).
Amazon sold what appears to be the same set, but the sales page has an "Item Under Review" notification box on the page:
While this item is available from other marketplace sellers on this page, it is not currently offered by Amazon.com because customers have told us there may be something wrong with our inventory of the item, the way we are shipping it, or the way it's described here. (Thanks for the tip!)

We're working to fix the problem as quickly as possible.
Comments from the one star reviews include that there were issues with play-back and region coding, and one five-star rating says the episodes are public domain, with some people selling inferior copies. Weird and shady, if not all-together clear.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:36 AM on December 9, 2010


Awesome. This show was a turning point for me in Jr High, where I went from just watching dumb reruns on the local UHF station to wanting to watch documentaries. Up until this point I thought PBS was nothing but Sesame Street and Monty Python.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:39 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the harsh reaction by some. I remember watching some of this as a teenager and while not perfect, it was thought-provoking and helped me to see current events in light of a long series of precedents. That is part and parcel of becoming an informed adult. It wasn't the only stimulus, but looking back it was a pretty good one.

(along with Carl Sagan's "cosmos" series)
posted by dgran at 10:41 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: "This is the dumbest history program ever."

Look at you being wrong.
posted by boo_radley at 10:45 AM on December 9, 2010 [21 favorites]


Does anyone else have happy memories of James Burke on TLC? You know, before it became all about huge families and renovating?
posted by ntartifex at 10:46 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth, the first Connections series was much more focused as a whole, with a definite beginning and end point. It clearly examined how we got here and asked serious questions in tge last episode about how to deal with the future. Series 2 and 3 were much more 'single serving' episodes, and was more of a 'fun ride' through history. If I had any real complaint about the entire series, it would be that, but you have to look at who is paying the bills, and a clear difference in priorities appears between the UK and US version.
posted by chambers at 10:46 AM on December 9, 2010


As a very geeky fourth grader, I was obsessed with Connections. I watched the series, got the book, watched it again, read the book over and over...

I'm glad to see these are online, and happy to hear about all the YouTube links to his other series. I may have to roll back the clock 30-odd years on myself and watch me some Burke!
posted by hippybear at 10:47 AM on December 9, 2010


Jams Burke=My Nerd Dream Boy Idol!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:48 AM on December 9, 2010


My only regret is that I only have one favorite to give to this post.
posted by mullingitover at 10:53 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't have cable and I had gathered that the network formerly known as The Learning Channel had devolved into renovation shows and reality tv, but what I did not know until yesterday is that TLC is also the home to Sarah Palin's "reality" show.

Imagine my surprise.

Once I get home, I'm going to curl up with my laptop and Connections and pretend that the world is still semi-sane.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:54 AM on December 9, 2010


...the dots did connect into an astonishing picture... the most notable of these, to my mind, being the episode where he connected dirty underwear in the renaissance to the development of the personal computer...

I didn't remember that that one ended with the PC, but I definitely remember the underwear/Black Death/printing press because it blew. my. mind. when I was a kid.
posted by DU at 10:59 AM on December 9, 2010


Connections was the first thing that made me realize that I didn't really hate History as a subject, just the way it was generally taught (a series of events and dates to memorize).
posted by doctor_negative at 11:02 AM on December 9, 2010


I watched these as part of a university course that was essentially "the history of science." Absolutely loved them. Thanks for posting this.

On preview, doctor-negative, history really is so interesting, and is so often ruined the way you describe. Glad you came around!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:06 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


James Burke does not get the kudos he deserves. His seventies programmes did for me what many Americans of a similar age say Sagan did for them. And then Bronowski, of course...
posted by Decani at 11:09 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I loved this show. Loved. It.
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:12 AM on December 9, 2010


From the site FAQ:

1. Who hosts these files? (DISCLAIMER)

None of the audio/visual content is hosted on this site. All media is embedded from other sites such as GoogleVideo, YouTube, Guba, MegaVideo, Youku etc. Therefore, this site has no control over the copyright issues of the streaming media.


So it's essentially a convenient interface to a curated list of documentaries that are available elsewhere, and which may disappear in the usual way of such things.

Nice to have a handy list though.
posted by philipy at 11:16 AM on December 9, 2010


I'm surprised no on has mentioned K-Web. It appears to be Burke's continuation of the series in a more interactive fashion on the web.
posted by herda05 at 11:18 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


"This is the dumbest history program ever."

A quick visit to the History Channel website refutes your claim nicely.
posted by steambadger at 11:21 AM on December 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


I like Connections a lot, and I will probably watch these again. But the respect that show received as either a science or history show is baffling to me.

During Connections, Burke came off to me like a nerd Don King, talking so fast you never have time to process what he's saying. Instead of exploring any topic in depth, he throws out as many semi-obscure factoids as possible, so quickly you never have a chance to ask how tenuous those "connections" really are. I mean, it's fun to watch, but really?

After losing his nose in a duel, Tycho Brahe's replaced it with a prostheitc made from solid gold, a metal considered sacred by the ancient Aztecs, who were invaded by greed-fueled Conquistadors, whose navigational techniques were perfected by Francisco Magellan during the early 1500s. And that is how we get to the GPS systems used in today's modern automobile!

posted by silkyd at 11:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


The show really blew my mind. I first found old connections episodes in the mid-90s, right when the web was getting big in my life and Connections was like real-life hypertext, the way he'd jump from history subject to subject to subject in the same way I'd wile away the hours at a computer clicking links to god knows what.
posted by mathowie at 11:32 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is the dumbest history program ever. It establishes "connections" which actually never existed and gives the false impression that certain events were connected, even though the connections laid out are usually entirely superficial.

I wasn't very taken with the 2nd and 3rd series so this accusation might actually be true of some of them for all I know. But it is manifestly untrue of the original series which establishes a clear chain of dependencies between developments. I'm sure if you search hard you can find the occasional exception where a link is more of a narrative leap than a hard dependency, but they'd hardly be representative.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:34 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


During Connections, Burke came off to me like a nerd Don King, talking so fast you never have time to process what he's saying. Instead of exploring any topic in depth, he throws out as many semi-obscure factoids as possible, so quickly you never have a chance to ask how tenuous those "connections" really are. I mean, it's fun to watch, but really?

Exactly. I used to like the show when I was a kid, then I got a B.A. and an M.A. in history and when I watched it again, I felt like he could have spent a lot of time drawing real lines of influence between things and it would have been just as exciting. Instead, some viewers might not understand that these things are really not connected at all. So much more could have been done with something like this, and it wasn't.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:35 AM on December 9, 2010


This is excellent news, I can't wait to show it to my kids. Cheers for the post.
posted by drowsy at 11:45 AM on December 9, 2010


That K-Web site doesn't look like it's been updated in about three years. Borked video links, too. :-(
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:51 AM on December 9, 2010


Having skimmed the thread, I guess I loved the series (first one best, yes) as a young child, and that's how I remember them. Not for any stunning accuracy, but for the sense that technology and ideas moved so far and so wide, some ideas seemed to have a polygenesis, some had a chain of custody. I guess that's why I like Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle too. I'll rewatch them to see if I think the narrative angle is presented as real causation when it shouldn't have.
posted by drowsy at 11:51 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


appeared in about 350 university and college curricula

Including mine. I remembering a Centennial College instructor basing his course on "Connections" back in 1992.
posted by orange swan at 11:53 AM on December 9, 2010


Exactly. I used to like the show when I was a kid, then I got a B.A. and an M.A. in history and when I watched it again, I felt like he could have spent a lot of time drawing real lines of influence between things and it would have been just as exciting. Instead, some viewers might not understand that these things are really not connected at all. So much more could have been done with something like this, and it wasn't.

Worst. Popularised. History. Of. Science. And. Technology. Documentary. Ever.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:55 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll rewatch them to see if I think the narrative angle is presented as real causation when it shouldn't have.

Really? I never really read cause/effect into most of what he was presenting - just "connections" i.e. he was usually relating requirements for something new to happen.
posted by peppito at 12:00 PM on December 9, 2010


Has anyone watched it recently? I tried for the first time, just these past couple weeks, and gave up. As silkyd said, he talks so fast it is hard to follow esp when so much info is thrown in there.

The first episode seemed to go on forever. I guess I had already thought of such things so it wasn't a big deal. I don't recall the second except that I gave up because it was either boring or I just didn't get the excitement the host had.

I get it may have been great back in the day, but I'm curious to know if others think it still holds up (esp if seeing it for first time now).
posted by evening at 12:04 PM on December 9, 2010


I still have the VHS copies I used to watch with my dad. I bought the DVDs awhile back, but I just can't let the VHS go. Say what you will about depth and connections vs causation, but the reason I'm studying science now is because James Burke taught me that it isn't restricted to men in white lab coats.
posted by MaritaCov at 12:09 PM on December 9, 2010


Ironmouth: "I used to like the show when I was a kid, then I got a B.A. and an M.A. in history and when I watched it again"

Ah, that explains it, your concerns are all inside baseball. I can now sympathize with you. I've lost count of the times I've yelled "that's not how computers work!" at the TV.
posted by boo_radley at 12:19 PM on December 9, 2010


Has anyone watched it recently?

I just rewatched the first series in the last few months, and they're still excellent. I think the first and last episodes can be skipped - the series doesn't need an hour-long introduction, and the the summary in the last episode feels very dated.

Try another episode in between those two, I think you'll like it.
posted by ripley_ at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2010


Has anyone watched it recently? I tried for the first time, just these past couple weeks, and gave up.

Ah, you ADHD kids. I sometimes wonder of it's something in the water.
posted by Decani at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2010


By the way, if you ever want to listen to history show that offers both depth and entertainment, you should check out the Hardcore History Podcast by Dan Carlin.

I'm pretty sure Carlin has no credentials whatsoever -- apparently, he just reads a lot about whatever topic he's interested in, then develops a podcast about it. (As he says, he's not an expert, he "just a fan.") However, Carlin is immensely entertaining. He has a Shatner-esque delivery that's goofy, but never boring. He's also really is passionate about his topics and apparently does his research well. I don't know what other historians think of him, but I find it really entertaining.

Highly recommended is the Ghosts of the Ostfront Series, his Punic Wars series, and Apache Tears.

During one of his shows, he actually interviewed James Burke, and I was actually quite disappointed in Burke. In the age of hyperlinks, Burke seems dated. (Carlin also also interviewed Gwynne Dyer, who came off as another pompous dolt.)
posted by silkyd at 12:25 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Connections 1 and 2 are great and all, but the real masterpiece is Day the Universe Changed.

Connections 3.. Well, you could almost understand Ironmouth's criticism if you only ever saw Connections 3.
posted by Chuckles at 12:30 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, Ironmouth. You really liked the show as a kid, have gone on to get a master's in history, and now say it's "dumbest history program ever." There's something almost fantastically point-missing about this. I loved it as a kid, it's the first thing I ever encountered that gave me a way to think about history, something that my history classes did not do. Even if some of the connections were tenuous, that almost doesn't matter. You haven't suggested that the events and facts he relates are false, and I retain a huge amount of that material to this day, after all these decades. This makes it a knockout by any standard of educational television.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:31 PM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Strangely, I just torrented season one a week or two ago and am working my way through the episodes for the first time since I was a kid. Without a doubt some of the ways this program views the world hit me at the right time to make indelible marks on my view of the world.

This is the dumbest history program ever. It establishes "connections" which actually never existed and gives the false impression that certain events were connected, even though the connections laid out are usually entirely superficial.

Oh, yes, absolutely. I'd go so far as to say it is the dumbest program ever. Actually, the dumbest ANYTHING ever. A program called "Connections", geared toward a popular viewership, that teases out connections between inventions and movements that are not always otherwise obviously connected! Fools!
posted by dirtdirt at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2010


I wonder if today's kids will love TLC shows like Losing One of My Giant Legs or The Eight-Limbed Boy only to call bullshit on them when they become orthopedic surgeons.
posted by stargell at 12:43 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, Ironmouth. You really liked the show as a kid, have gone on to get a master's in history, and now say it's "dumbest history program ever." There's something almost fantastically point-missing about this. I loved it as a kid, it's the first thing I ever encountered that gave me a way to think about history, something that my history classes did not do. Even if some of the connections were tenuous, that almost doesn't matter. You haven't suggested that the events and facts he relates are false, and I retain a huge amount of that material to this day, after all these decades. This makes it a knockout by any standard of educational television.

For years, I credited my 5th and 6th grade English teacher for any sort of competency with language that I developed over the years. Went on to teach in a related field, etc. I decided to email her a few years ago to say thanks, and I received a response that, in terms of prose quality, was substantially different than I remembered. It didn't change a single thing, though, as the awesomeness of her role in my life was related to pointing me in the right direction and with the fundamental tools to develop a passion for something, even if I hyped it up a bit in my mind over the years. This is what a good teacher does. A good student sometimes outperforms the teacher, but that doesn't invalidate the role of the teacher.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:52 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


even a fool loves 'connections'. The show is a great primer for historiography. More specific, the chronological aspects of history and causality.
posted by clavdivs at 12:54 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget the important subtext, from the first and last episodes: if any part of this technological web fails, we're fucked.
posted by klanawa at 12:56 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, my public education led me to believe that the "dark ages" were just that, and that everyone back then was a primitive screw-head. Burke's series changed that for me, there's gotta be value in that at least. Also, being an Anglophile I LOVED his cadence, jokes, wit. Still do. "He talks too fast" is not an indictment of Burke.
posted by Basin and Rage at 1:05 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get it may have been great back in the day, but I'm curious to know if others think it still holds up (esp if seeing it for first time now).

I think what is missing today is that this series has changed how we think about these things at a fundamental level, and so because it shifted our very worldview into alignment, now it shows us little and so seems trite.

Where once it was natural and intuitive, I now struggle to remember and even comprehend the "traditional" view of history, so thoroughly has it been replaced in this world since the days of this series. But I can remember a time when that traditional view was typical and unchallenged.

No doubt the traditional understand persists widely, and no doubt Burke wasn't the only one beating this drum, but it's the beat that the world marches to now. In a sense, connections is a victim of its own success.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:06 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


We recently re-watched all the Connections and The Day the Universe Changed in a bit of a James Burke-athon. At the end of Connections 1 Burke has a little spiel about how at some point technology will start changing so rapidly that some portion of society will feel threatened at the rapid pace of change, out of fear they will be unable to keep up in a society they no longer understand, and this could lead to political/social tension. Mr. ambrosia and I looked at each other and said "huh. James Burke anticipated the Tea Party back in 1978."
posted by ambrosia at 1:09 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


A quick visit to the History Channel website refutes your claim nicely.


"If ancient aliens visited Earth, who were they, and where did they come from? Find out on Ancient Aliens on History.com."
posted by Copronymus at 1:13 PM on December 9, 2010


Ironmouth: What history series do you like?
posted by benzenedream at 1:18 PM on December 9, 2010


During one of his shows, he actually interviewed James Burke, and I was actually quite disappointed in Burke. In the age of hyperlinks, Burke seems dated.

I don't really think this should be surprising or disappointing. Look at Carl Sagan today for example; he's dead. How disappointing is that!

These men have made a vast contribution to our societies, the kind of less-than-once-in-a-lifetime achievements that most people can only dream of doing. Less than once

The greater your achievements, the more people are inadvertently inclined to hold it against you that you are human like everyone else.

Burke has made a great contribution. Regardless of whether he uses it or not, he's earned the right to kick up his feet. Most of us haven't. And instead of wanting for more, as if a man can be a fountain that should never run dry, the onus is on us to step up and fill those shoes.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:24 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oooh. Nice find.
posted by zarq at 1:49 PM on December 9, 2010


I credit Connections for teaching me that books were once made out of old underwear.
posted by exogenous at 1:59 PM on December 9, 2010


Interesting, Silky. I found both the Burke and Dyer interviews on hardcore history very interesting. I especially liked how responsive and enthused they were to have someone ask them questions that go so far beyond press release or soundbite, questions merely for the sake of knowing.

Dyer, certainly, comes off as somewhat curmudgeonly, but I couldn't help but feel it was a bit fo a persona, as he let it slip several times during the interview.

Also, having been a interviewer myself for broadcast and print, never underestimate the plethora - the barrage of stupid questions from un-knowing dolts that celebrities field. Unless you've witnessed it, you might not understand. That might have been the only intelligent interview Dyer did all year. For subjects, interviews like that are probably around one in seventy. It fosters a certain attitude.
posted by smoke at 2:29 PM on December 9, 2010


Weird. I was just thinking about this, the other day. Fabulous find. Thanks!
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:08 PM on December 9, 2010




I think the first and last episodes can be skipped - the series doesn't need an hour-long introduction, and the the summary in the last episode feels very dated.

Strangely, I have almost entirely the opposite view: while the other eight episodes are definitely fun to watch, the first and last episodes are the ones that have stuck with me. The description of the eastern seaboard blackout combined with the what-if? disaster scenario Burke sketches out is a convincing way of explaining how fragile civilization is and how dependent it now is on technology. Burke leaves that thread alone while he goes on some highly entertaining romps through history, and then in the last episode he ties it all together and makes arguments about our tenuous grasp on the future that I think still hold true today, even if his explanation of computers seems a little luddite (it was the 70s, what do you want). The four approaches to the future he outlines halfway through the episode are still relevant today; you see echoes of them all over the place.

The second and third series completely drop the questions about what we as a society can do to control and direct technology, and are far, far worse for it.
posted by chrominance at 8:29 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I now expect to be home "sick" next week. Thanks!

*koff koff*
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:41 PM on December 9, 2010


Stuff like this can be outdated AND very interesting/entertaining. The Cousteau team kill a baby whale and dynamite a reef in their first movie.
posted by snofoam at 7:28 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I watched the first episode now (I don't think we got this in NZ) just after reading the first 24 issues of The Walking Dead that my sister sent me.

It made me think that you don't really need zombies to have a zombie apocalypse.
posted by wilberforce at 3:55 AM on December 11, 2010


So somebody upthread wanted to know how it comes off to a first time viewer in 2010?

Caveat: I have an undergrad degree in anthropology and have been a lifelong history buff.

This would have been really cool to see when I was a kid, or to show to a kid in my life. It is also probably really cool if you're an adult who doesn't read a whole lot and never paid much attention in social studies classes in school. I think in that sense, it's definitely better than most of the dreck that passes for educational programming on cable channels today.

On the other hand, I have learned a lot more from things like The History Detectives on PBS, or from various BBC documentary series. So while there's worse out there, there's also better out there. Though the "better" stuff probably doesn't appeal much to the folks who I think would get a lot out of Connections.
posted by Sara C. at 3:15 PM on December 14, 2010


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