History Channel released this week its new military documentary 100 Years of World War I. The documentary is a perfect fit for any high school and college level history course. It is just as fitting for a class at any military academy. The in-depth program spans two discs and eight separate segments. The first four segments are the meat and potatoes of the program and are contained entirely on the set’s first disc. That separation of material is the second part of this set that audiences will appreciate. And rounding out the whole presentation is the incorporation of vintage footage and pictures, actual writings from those involved in combat, and computer simulations to help illustrate each segment’s topic. These extras alongside the set’s organization and its expansive information collectively make 100 years Of WWI a viable candidate for a slot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new documentaries.
The primary factor that audiences will appreciate about this new documentary “series” is the depth of material included across each of its segments. Audiences are treated to a history lesson primarily on the military tech that was first developed for use in World War I. It all starts with a lesson of sorts on the evolution of a British farm tractor into the first tanks. Audiences will be interested to see just how tight things were inside the tanks and the dangers that tank crews faced in those earliest versions of tanks. What’s more, audiences will be interested to see just how imperfect they were despite their strengths. From tanks, the main feature moves on to the development of the first chemical warfare and to the advent of aerial and submersible technology. The program’s narrator explains that things weren’t perfect with any of this tech at first. For instance, the gas used actually would blow back into the faces of the soldiers, leading many to be killed by accident. And even the use of submarines was largely ineffective at first for British forces. Even more interesting, audiences will learn that for the longest time, the U.S. actually stayed out of the war, until the German forces didn’t keep their word about not sinking American ships. If all of this isn’t enough for audiences, there is even a history lesson of sorts on some of the most integral air battles in the history of World War I in the set’s bonus second disc. These are just some examples of the extent of the in-depth information shared throughout the course of this program’s two discs. The history shared throughout the course of this set’s two discs is central to its overall enjoyment. The manner in which the overall program was separated is another reason that audiences will appreciate this set.
The organization of 100 Years of WWI is another important aspect of this set’s overall enjoyment. Each of the four primary segments that comprise the main feature is presented in and of itself rather than all of them being jumbled together as one big program. This applies to the features included on the bonus second disc, too. The end result of this full separation of features is that viewers will be more apt to actually sit and watch through each one’s roughly forty plus minute run time. The only real connection per se that each of the features have to one another is the opening sequence. It tells audiences what the program covers in each part. The overall impact of this organization alongside the depth of material presented makes both aspects equally important. Together, they make this box set even more enjoyable for any history buff or military history buff.
The organization of 100 Years of WWI and the information included within each of the set’s eight total features together make this set well worth the purchase by any military history buff and history buff in general. There is one more factor to consider in this set’s enjoyment. That factor is its collective interviews, vintage footage and pictures, and computer simulations. Each one helps in its own way to make each discussion more accessible for viewers. There are computer generated clips showing how the blimps crafted by the German forces bombed England. There are also computer simulations used in the features centered on WWI’s most well-known dogfights. And the footage and pictures of the men fighting on the front lines drives home just how horrible it must have been to have been in those trenches. This is merely some of what audiences can expect from this program. Audiences will see much more when they order 100 Years of WWI for themselves. It can be ordered direct from History Channel’s online store at http://shop.history.com/detail.php?p=562013. More information on this and other releases from History Channel is available online at http://www.history.com, http://shop.history.com, and http://www.facebook.com/History. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.
Courtesy: Entertainment One/American Heroes Channel
World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are the most talked about conflicts in military history. The trio has been fodder for more movies and television specials than can be counted on two hands alone. They aren’t the only conflicts that have shaped the history of world, though. As many stories have come from these conflicts, there is one conflict in particular that has never fully received the attention that it deserves. The conflict in question is the First World War. Much like World War II, WWI started in Europe. But it started for a much different reason than did World War II as audiences will learn in watching this in depth-reissue of the Military Channel mini-series. The information shared throughout the program’s eight-plus hours is just a single part of what makes this re-issued mini-series well worth the watch. The accompanying vintage footage of pre-wartime Europe and Europe during the war is another positive to the presentation as a whole. Last but most definitely not least, the entire program is singularly narrated. The people behind the documentary didn’t rely on celebrity “experts” to help move the program along. That final factor makes this three-disc set one more that both history buffs and military history buffs will appreciate.
The First World War is an important presentation both for history buffs in general and more specifically for any military history buff. That is because of the amount and depth of information shared throughout the course of its eight-plus hours. It doesn’t just breeze over the war’s history with a few handfuls of highlights. Rather it traces the history of the war going beyond the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria that is said to have started the war. It goes all the way back to racial and political tensions between the various groups of the area that would eventually lead to said assassination. Audiences learn how the British actually used the Japanese to take over certain regions of China and so many other facts that aren’t taught in public schools or even in college level courses. That explains why the entire mini-series runs just over eight hours across three-discs. And it’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg that makes this set worth the watch.
The in-depth content that makes up The First World War is a solid foundation to the mini-series in whole. It presents to audiences far more information than could be presented over the course of an academic year in public schools. It presents even more than could be presented over the course of a semester in a college level course, too. Audiences will also appreciate the use of the vintage pictures and footage incorporated into the mini-series, too. Footage from the days of World War II is far more plentiful (or so it would seem) than from the days of World War I. It makes the footage presented here all the more valuable and important in understanding what was going on in the world in the days and months leading up to the start of World War I and even during the war itself. And along with the diary readings offered throughout the program, It makes the presentation as a whole even more interesting for any history buff in general and military history buff. That leads to one more point of equal importance in this mini-series. The point in question is the lack of “expert” and celebrity guests to discuss the events of the war.
Most specials, series, and mini-series centered on the world’s various important historical events that air on television are accompanied by “expert” and celebrity guests. The “expert” guests all have their share of valuable information. But the inclusion of celebrity guests to narrate, do readings and otherwise just make appearances is little more than a marketing ploy used to get eyeballs. And being that this mini-series originally aired on the American Heroes Channel (formerly Military Channel), it’s rather interesting to note that those behind this program didn’t employ such a marketing ploy. It’s interesting because programs run on other Discovery Communications networks do in fact use that angle. It’s nice to sit back and watch this program without some celebrity or alleged “expert” adding his or her own two cents every few minutes or so. It’s just one narrator, vintage footage, and a straight, pure history of a war that deserves far more coverage than it has ever received from any network or filmmaker. It collectively makes The First World War a must see for anyone that has any interest at all in history in general and in military history.
Zeppelin Terror Attack is another impressive addition to PBS’ hit science series, NOVA. This edition of NOVA is a great watch for the same reason that so many of NOVA’s episodes are so enjoyable. That reason is that it reaches more than just one specific niche audience. That is the primary reason for the success of this episode. Another reason for this episode’s success is the very history given on the impact of zeppelins on the outcome of World War I. Lastly, the acting and visual aids used over the course of the documentary put the finishing touch on the success of this episode of NOVA. All of these elements together make Zeppelin Terror Attack yet more proof of the value of not only NOVA but of PBS as a whole.
The first aspect of Zeppelin Terror Attack that makes it another enjoyable addition to NOVA’s long-held tradition of excellence is its ability to reach so many audiences within such a short period of time. It is a piece that proves NOVA covers more than just science. It can reach history buffs, military history buffs, military buffs in general, and even those with an interest in engineering. There are so many stories centered on the history of World War II out there. Yet there are seemingly far fewer stories centered on the first world war. So it is nice to have this presentation, taking audiences back to a time that is so rarely discussed today. History buffs, military history buffs, and military buffs in general will appreciate the history lesson taught through this episode. Those with an interest in engineering and avionics will appreciate the discussion on how Zeppelins were built, and how their Achilles heel was eventually discovered by the British. Who would ever have thought that the intestinal linings of a cow would be used for the skin of a zeppelin? Paul Shepard’s editing is spot on when this is first revealed. Audiences will find themselves laughing at the reaction of a random cow when this revelation is made. Just as interesting for those interested in engineering and avionics is the discussion on how Zeppelins today use helium instead of hydrogen to float. And despite the evolution of the zeppelin, it still faces the issue of helium slowly escaping from its ballast. There is much more that each of this episode’s audiences will take away from it for themselves. They will have to order the DVD for themselves, though, to find out just how much it has to offer in that realm.
The fact that Zeppelin Terror Attack can reach so many audiences is central to its success. It’s nothing new to NOVA, either. This is a long-standing tradition for this top notch science show. Another reason that audiences will appreciate this episode of NOVA is that it brings one of so many currently untold stories of WWI to light at long last. Whenever most people think of WWI, the very first thought that comes to mind is the novel All Quiet on the Western Front. Other than that sole story, most people would be hard pressed to come up with a story about WWI if asked to do so. Taking that into consideration , this story is a nice starting point for even more discussions and stories centered on WWI. As much as the world still needs the stories of WWII, the stories of WWI are just as vital to the world’s history as those of WWII. So kudos are in order for the heads at PBS and at NOVA for bringing this story to light. And here’s to perhaps many more to come.
The story itself that is told through Zeppelin Terror Attack and the fact that it can reach multiple audiences collectively make this episode of NOVA another excellent addition to PBS’ hit series. There is one more aspect to this episode of NOVA that is standard to the series, making it all the more enjoyable for viewers. That last aspect is the episode’s visual aids. The visual aids used throughout this episode include vintage footage of Germany’s initial bombing of Britain and CG sequences outlining how the zeppelins’ weak spots. There are also other CG sequences that show the path taken by the Zeppelins into Britain along with actual acting segments used to help further illustrate the story. These elements are collectively what once made the documentaries from History Channel and Discovery Channel so impressive. But ever since the advent of reality television, those documentaries have gone by the wayside on those once powerhouse networks. Now, they are what make this and so many documentaries on PBS so great and so worth watching. Audiences can order the DVD online now at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=30499076&cp=&kw=zeppelin+terror+attack&origkw=Zeppelin+Terror+Attack&sr=1. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.