Julia Child melded TV and food 50 or so years ago. Now with scads of celebrity chefs, cooking shows, and networks devoted to it, cuisine is even more popular. National Geographic Channel's six-hour miniseries salutes its history, science and culture. Each episode tackles a central theme: revolutionaries, meat, sugar, seafood, junk food, and grains -- with stories and reflections by a smorgasbord of chefs, authors, scientists, etc. Interviewees include Padma Lakshmi, Nigella Lawson, Simon Majumdar, Rachael Ray, Marcus Samuelsson, Anna Boiardi and Graham Elliot.
"Naked Science" strips away the layers of a scientific investigation into one of the big mysteries of our time, revealing through expert analysis realistic scenarios that either confirm or deny long-held assumptions and misconceptions.
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").
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, in a departure from the type of material he is best known for, pays homage to Carl Sagan's award-winning and iconic "Cosmos" with this docuseries. Through stories of humankind's quest for knowledge, viewers travel across the universe. Scientific concepts are presented clearly, with both skepticism and wonder, to impart their full impact. Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts, and Sagan's original creative collaborator, Ann Druyan, serves as an executive producer.
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.
Could you be a boss? Are you a liar? How tough are you? Do you live on the edge? Those questions and others like them are asked and then answered by data scientist Jake Porway to reveal surprising information. Porway recites mind-bending stats, conducts entertaining man-on-the-street experiments, and takes part in interactive games, all in the name of providing insight into life's mysteries in a fast-paced, engaging way.
From the producers of the multiple-award-winning miniseries "The Men Who Built America," National Geographic Channel chronicles competitions in innovation that pit history's brightest minds in the race to lay claim to the future. For them, the greatest challenge wasn't beating the odds -- it was beating their adversaries. From Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates to William Hurst vs. Joseph Pulitzer, each hourlong episode focuses on a specific rivalry, delving into fierce power struggles, deceit, fluke timing and raw ambition out of which great ideas turned into reality. The conflicts play out through re-enactments that feature interviews with modern-day visionaries like Bill Nye, Steve Wozniak, Jack Welch, Steve Wynn and Michio Kaku.
The old Dolly Parton hit "9 to 5" isn't a tune worth humming for the blue-collar pioneers featured in "Filthy Riches." The series spotlights ingenious Americans who skirt a conventional workplace in favor of making a living in the deep rivers, soggy mud flats and wild backwoods of the U.S. Ray Turner, for example, has been catching eels in Delaware for 30 years. He uses a self-made smokehouse in the woods to cook the critters and sell them. Billy Taylor and his sons hunt for prized ginseng root in the Appalachians. Taylor, a fully licensed wild ginseng dealer, promotes sustainability by planting its berries. In Maine, Jim Campbell and Andy Johns make the coastal mud flats their office, as they dig for valuable bloodworms to sell to fishermen. And Greg Dahl and Albert DeSilva are burl hunters. A burl is a hard, unwieldy outgrowth on a tree, usually at the trunk. Burls have value because of the spectacular patterns found in them when cut open.