Oscar winners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer put their storytelling acumen to work as executive producers of "Breakthrough," a series of hourlong documentaries highlighting the stories, people, and technology behind the world's most cutting-edge scientific innovations. After considering more than 100 scientific topics for the series, the pair -- helped by National Geographic archives and research, along with the scientific resources of partner GE -- selected biotechnology, neuroscience, anti-aging technology, alternative energy, water conservation, and global pandemics. Each episode is directed by a prominent Hollywood star -- Howard himself helms "The Age of Aging," joining actors Angela Bassett ("Water Apocalypse") and Paul Giamatti ("More Than Human"), directors Peter Berg ("Fighting Pandemics") and Brett Ratner ("Decoding the Brain"), and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman ("Energy From the Edge").
Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman explores the meaning of life, God, and many big questions in between in an effort to understand how religion has evolved and shaped society. A different divine subject is covered in each hourlong episode, titles of which include "Creation," "The Devil Inside," "Afterlife," "Apocalypse," and "Who Is God?" To explore these topics, host and narrator Freeman visits nearly 20 cities in seven countries to see some of the world's greatest religious sites, among them Jerusalem's Wailing Wall, India's Bodhi Tree, Mayan temples in Guatemala, and the pyramids of Egypt, and he immerses himself in religious experiences and rituals. "In some places I found answers, and others led to more questions. The constant through it all is that we're all looking to be part of something bigger than us. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that we certainly are," Freeman says.