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Featured shows

Some people like to hop in a car to take a road trip across America, visiting as many landmarks as possible along the way. Since such a trek can take a while to complete, taking a flight across America might be a better option for some people. "Aerial America" takes viewers on such a flight, offering rare looks at some of the nation's best-loved landmarks from high in the sky. Cameras capture the history and pageantry of America as they zoom over busy cityscapes and quiet, rural lands. Many episodes focus on a specific state, showcasing highlights of the state's beauty, while others revolve around themes such as the best small towns and natural wonders found in the country.
Statistically, traveling by airplane is safer than driving and other forms of transportation, but when something goes wrong during a flight, it can be catastrophic with potentially hundreds of lives at stake. This series examines some of the world's worst air disasters, using official reports, transcripts and interviews with people involved to tell the stories of midair mishaps and discover what went wrong in each case. Episodes include a discussion of how the weather affects flights -- including stories of aviation disasters and near-misses -- and a New Year's Eve flight that fell from the sky into the Florida Everglades.
"Air Warrriors" puts the spotlight on some of the airplanes that have been used by American forces in combat battles through the years. The program profiles the dedicated pilots and other team members who fly and maintain the aircraft. Rarely seen combat footage and pilots' stories help bring to life the journeys that have been taken by the flying machines, which include a plane-chopper hybrid that saves lives and an attack helicopter that is called the Black Death by America's enemies.
Award-winning historian Bettany Hughes takes viewers on an adventure, from the defeat of the Carthaginian Empire, Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon River, and Constantine's conversion to Christianity. Her travels take her across Italy's ancient sites and into the psyches of the emperors, gladiators, and generals of the Roman Empire. Join her as she explores the rise and fall of one of history's most incredile reigns -- and it all took eight days.
Smithsonian Channel delves into the supernatural beliefs of ancient Britons in "Mystic Britain." In this documentary series, talk show host Clive Anderson and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota travel across the United Kingdom exploring sacred belief, strange rituals and occult practices. They are joined by scientists, archaeologists and historians who look at the latest discoveries unearthing weird and wondrous truths about ancient sites, events and cultures. Anderson and Ochota's journeys include a visit to an ancient church, where the walls are scored with demonic symbols, Hadrian's Wall, a massive structure believed to have magical powers, the site of the Rollright Stones, where it is said that fairies dance on summer evenings, and a pit full of human bones showing signs of mutilation in a Yorkshire village.
Shipwrecks of massive scale have rocked the world and baffled investigators, as the truth of what happened is often lost to the depths of the ocean. This series examines some of the most mysterious sea disasters within the past 50 years. These include an icy fight for survival on an Antarctic cruise, the mysterious sinking of cargo carrier MV Derbyshire in 1980, and the largest cold water rescue in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard. Investigators look into the true story of the Mary Celeste, what was left behind in shipwrecks, and what might cause a crew to abandon ship.
Embark on an exciting excursion around the globe to explore breathtaking landscapes. Experience the different modes of luxury that passengers can take on these great locomotives. Teddy Wilson, host and narrator describes Japan's trains as, "Japan Rail has devised an ingenious system of sensors and centralized operations -- a system so successful that during the devastating earthquake in 2011 every bullet train in the Shinkansen system was stopped in its tracks before the earthquake struck, keeping passengers on the bullet trains safe." From luxury to vintage to high-speed and even revolutionary these great trains navigate Canada's terrain, Japan's earthquake zones and every place in between. Jump behind the scenes with the engineers and crews as they travel to distant locales.
Some of the greatest warships have gone on to shape the history of the world and have even pushed their crews into unbelievable and incredible acts of bravery. Take a look at the very first submarine which is rumored to have lurked beneath New York harbor during the Revolutionary War, the smaller ships that rescued thousands from Dunkirk, or the destroyer in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Over the years, conflicts and wars have prompted extreme advances to ship designs and now they are faster, stronger, and smarter than ever before.
Stories of some of the greatest and deadliest submarine patrols of World War II.
The incredible true stories of spy wars fought in the shadows, from the turbulent years of the Cold War to the Iran Hostage Crisis and the discovery of a complex web of sleeper agents living in the US.
Some of the world's famous relics have secrets behind them that contribute to their complete stories. "Secrets" explores the mysteries relating to some of these historic landmarks to reveal the truths behind them. The latest research and forensic techniques are used to find out the stories behind the fabled cities, monuments and remnants featured on the show. Episodes include Egyptian historians on a mission to decode the mysteries of the Great Sphinx, archeologists unearthing secrets of Richard III, and an investigation into whether the bust of Nefertiti is real or a hoax.
The success of exploring the United States from the sky in "Aerial America" has inspired a version that takes viewers on a similar journey of Britain. Filmed from helicopters and drones outfitted with high-definition cameras, the series highlights four regions -- Northern and Southern England, Wales, and Scotland -- and features views of iconic landmarks, both natural and man-made, plus monuments off the beaten path. Included are explorations of England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike; the secret hideaways where Led Zeppelin and Queen made music history; and a tiny island that once held an illustrious prisoner, Mary Queen of Scots.
"Orangutan Jungle School" follows a group of young endangered orangutans as they learn the skills they'll need to survive in the wild at a forest school for orphaned apes run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation in Borneo. These orangutans who have lost their mothers to poaching and deforestation progress through a series of classes and grade levels. The documentary series overflows with hilarious antics, emotional moments and dramatic cliffhangers as it showcases the incredible work being done by human caregivers to provide these young apes with a chance to survive in the wild.
History buff Paul Shull is on a mission to find some of the world's rarest weapons from military history. This series chronicles his journey as he locates, fixes and fires antique weapons. He gets help from a network of history-obsessed collectors, who have spent decades -- and quite a bit of money -- building up collections of militaria that rival the best around. The collectors open their doors to Shull, allowing him to experience history firsthand. On his cross-country trek, Shull fires World War II rifles, tries to restore a WWII-era Quad 50 machine gun, and attempts to locate and fire a flamethrower.
The Andes mountains were born from the volcanic fire nearly 25 million years ago, they are the longest mountain chain on earth. The mountain range is pushed up by tectonic forces and continue to rise up to create new and beautiful landscapes and habitats for the variety of creatures that roam them. Take a journey through the mountains' extremes and learn about the animals that call the 4,000-mile expanse their home. Take the paths along the western edge of South America from Southern Patagonia's icy expanse to the oxygen-deprived Altiplano plateau all the way to the northern's tropical landscape.
The Pacific War was unlike any other conflict. Witness the scale and scope of it and the savagery used by the varying parties. Attacks such as Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki that were the major pieces of the war to all the smaller conflicts in between. Viewers see color combat footage from those who experienced it firsthand-- marines, airmen, and sailors. Footage also reveals the brutal reality of life on the frontline during this major conflict.
"America's Hidden Stories" delves into the secrets of America and the stories the viewers need to know. Discover if Revolutionary War hero Gen. Pulaski was actually a woman and was the heartland of the America's the birthplace of the Spanish flu? Modern historians use state-of-the-art equipment and technology along with newly discovered evidence to rewrite the narrative of some of the United States' most iconic stories. Sift beneath the surface as teams dig deep into America's past to uncover truths about the Salem witches and the trials, an alleged spy network behind Pearl Harbor and many other hidden gems.
Warfare has typically been seen as the territory of men. But dotted throughout history, evidence shows that over the years women were often involved in the fight as well. Delve deep into the tales of history's most iconic female fighters. The legendary Amazonian women, gladiators of Rome, the all-female fighting force in West Africa, among many others. The extraordinary lives of these fierce, brave women and the battles they fought and the sacrifice they endured are laid bare for everyone to see.
Beijing's Forbidden City is modern China's greatest tourist attraction, but in ancient times it was the center of the world, the seat of two dynasties and 24 emperors.
In the early years of TV, from its invention in the 1920s until the mid-'60s, most shows were broadcast in black and white before color TV gained in popularity and become economically viable for broadcasters. That means many historic pieces of video -- including rare home movies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Nixon-Kennedy debate -- have all been relegated to being viewed in the colorless format. "America in Color" looks to change that by restoring and colorizing archival footage from the early 20th century through the '60s. Producers meticulously researched the original colors to make sure the tones are correct when they use revolutionary methods to add the proper hues to footage that looks different than when people have seen it previously. Each episode of the hourlong series highlights newly restored footage from a specific decade in the history of the medium. Actor Liev Schreiber narrates the five-part series.
Every year millions of people visit Washington, D.C., and the Smithsonian Institution, which includes the National Air and Space Museum and the National Portrait Gallery among the sections of the multifaceted complex, but they don't see everything there is to see. In this series, actor Tom Cavanaugh takes viewers behind the scenes of the tourist attractions and into the private rooms, high-tech vaults and cutting-edge research labs that aren't part of the museums' regular tours. Cavanaugh reveals artifacts and rarely seen treasures that visitors miss. The show discusses each object's origin, how it is being preserved and studied, and what each thing might tell us.