How the States Got Their Shapes Season 2 is a welcome follow-up to the show’s original season. Season Two is just as entertaining as the show’s debut season. The primary reason for this is that Season Two takes viewers into more depth than just how the states’ borders were developed. This season, viewers are taken more into depth in the history of the states along with the history of the states’ shapes, too. While Season Two’s episodes go into more depth on the different states in the union, they don’t go into so much depth that they become too involved for viewers. Rather, they are simple enough for viewers of any age to grasp. What’s more, each episode minus commercials clocks in at just under half an hour. So whether in the classroom or the living room, it’s a fitting new installment to this hit History Channel Series, and an equally fitting addition to any history buff’s home library.
The second season of How the States Got Their Shapes is made up of a total of eighteen episodes. Over the course of those eighteen episodes, host Brian Unger takes viewers deeper into the history of the states. Rather than just focus on how the states got their shapes, Unger takes viewers into history lessons such as: the history of the infamous feud between the Hatfields and McCoys, what makes one state red and another blue and when the terms “red” and “blue” first came about, and the impact of a state’s population on politics. There are other equally intriguing concepts across this season’s three discs. But viewers can find out for themselves what each one is, and what makes each one so important this season. Audiences will be surprised to learn in the episode ,”Hatfields vs. McCoys” that despite the popular belief, it might not have in fact been a pig that started the cross-state conflict, but a member of one clan fighting for the “wrong” side in the civil war. According to the history shared, the alleged theft of a pig might have just been one of many factors that caused the conflict to escalate.
Just as interesting for viewers to learn, is that the terms “red state” and “blue state” didn’t even exist until the 2000 election between President George W. Bush and Al Gore. “Red State vs. Blue State” reveals that this now commonly used phrase wasn’t even a reality until the news media made it so during the course of the now infamous election that centered on hanging chads and elderly voters in Florida. How many adults or even younger viewers can honestly say that they knew this little tidbit of information? This critic will honestly say that he did not know this until having watched this episode. It serves as a reminder that as much as even adults would like to claim they know about political science, not all adults know nearly as much as they’d like to believe.
“Red State vs. Blue State” was just one of a number of episodes that offers viewers a civics lesson in How the States got their Shapes Season 2. The lessons permeate the season’s eighteen episodes. Just one more example of this lies in the episode, “Big vs. Small.” This episode takes a different angle on the show’s political science sessions. It explains to viewers through interactions with average people how the size of one state versus another has a vast effect on the state’s pull in elections. For instance, it compares the size of Texas and Rhode Island, and ties it to the number of representatives and senators a state has in connection to the state’s size and population size. Yet again, whether a viewer is young or more world-wise most viewers will be surprised at just how much they had either not known or had forgotten over time. It’s just one more episode that makes this season of How the States got their Shapes so entertaining and interesting.
The lessons and concepts raised through this season’s episodes take viewers deeper into the states’ history. As in depth as they get, not one episode gets too in depth for casual viewers. Unger interviews people from every walk of life in each episode instead of just politicians and academics. Those individuals are there. But there are just as many ordinary people in these episodes, too. And because of the large number of ordinary people interviewed, Unger is able to talk to them (and in turn viewers) on a casual level. This casual discussion will make viewers feel less like Unger and the show’s producers are talking down to them. This serves even more to make this season just as entertaining and enjoyable as Season One.
The general informational content of each episode is on the level of any casual viewer, whether fifteen or fifty-years old. In simple terms, this season’s episodes are just as viewer friendly, content-wise, as Season One’s episodes. The episodes included in this season are just as viewer friendly because of the length of each episode. Each episode comes in at just under half an hour. That’s because there are no commercials to have to navigate. And because the episodes are on DVD, viewers can fast forward or go back to wherever they want with just the push of a button. This only makes each episode collectively even more viewer friendly and even more worth watching not just once, but any time.
The key to the success of How the States got their Shapes Season 2 can be summed up in two words, as one should be able to tell by the factors noted here. Those two words are “viewer friendliness.” The episodes are short. And the producers have written the facts and figures in a way that makes them easy for viewers of any age to understand and appreciate. Even host Brian Unger comes across like an every guy. And he interviews everyday people as well as academics and politicians. This works with everything else noted to make this season all the better both in the classroom and in the living room, regardless of whether this is the last season for the show or not. It is available now on DVD and can be ordered online direct from History Channel’s website at http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=450943&SESSID=1f92713358ed29d46f0205c1e2c6d1f9&v=history#tabs. Audiences can find out more about this show on the official History Channel Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/History and its official website, http://www.history.com.
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