History 101 season 1 review – Like Netflix’s Explained but for History

May 22, 2020
Daniel Hart 6
Netflix, TV Reviews
3.5

Summary

It’s a lighter weekend on Netflix but History 101 season 1 is worth a binge — it won’t take long and you may learn something new.

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3.5

Summary

It’s a lighter weekend on Netflix but History 101 season 1 is worth a binge — it won’t take long and you may learn something new.

Netflix series History 101 season 1 came out on the platform on May 22, 2020 — add it to your list.


Every month Netflix release documentary after documentary — there’s no denying that the platform has their thumb firmly pressed on the genre in various forms. This week will hardly get documentary enthusiasts jumping from their sofas but it’s a new documentary series all the same and easy to watch. Netflix’s History 101 offers bite-sized history lessons on various subjects — in a nutshell, it’s like Explained but for history. There’s nothing to grumble about here at all.

While we are living in our own significant period of history with the world battling with impossible circumstances, History 101 gives archival footage, snapshot facts and graphs, and a soothing commentator relaying the figures and observations. In the opening episode, it discusses the fast-food industry; how it grew exponentially into a $560 billion dollar business worldwide and became a human phenomenon. The facts are nothing new and it dishes through the negatives as well; for instance, we all know by now how the fast-food industry has majorly contributed to the obesity epidemic in American and Europe. So it’s evident that the Netflix documentary series attempts to look at both sides of the coin.

Other episodes include The Space Race, The Rise of China, and genetics — in the 10-part series, History 101 offers enough variety for viewers to pick and select a subject they are in a mood for. It’s a lighter weekend on Netflix but History 101 season 1 is worth a binge — it won’t take long and you may learn something new.


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6 thoughts on “History 101 season 1 review – Like Netflix’s Explained but for History

  • May 22, 2020 at 8:25 pm
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    The show blew its credibility pretty early in the first episode. Comparing ~$180 billion in 1969 to ~$570 billion in 2020. How about accounting for the rate of inflation (an astronomical increase of its own)? If they can’t get that right, how am I supposed to trust anything else in the episode or in the remaining episodes? That was a quick thumbs down, and onto easily better entertainment.

    • May 25, 2020 at 12:33 am
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      The 180 number was accounting for inflation, you missed it in the doc at 1:15 – you had to wait a few more seconds after they said it before the next graphic appeared with the “*adjusted for inflation”.

      What I found ludicrous was the “industry is 100% innocent, it’s up to us the consumers” to solve the obesity problem without going further. If you’re going to make a claim like that (which in a way I agree with) then you better back it up, not just roll credits. ie, my opinion is we need better education earlier about diet and exercise, and for damn sure people need to clean up the school menus. I would offer more ideas but they would all be based on a foundation of lies, as in, yeah you could tax the industry, but who cares when markets don’t mean anything anymore when the fed does what it does.

      And of course they don’t say anything about industry lobbying… We live in a world of pretend-justice.

      • May 26, 2020 at 6:08 pm
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        Very early I saw there was a lot of things they were saying that wasn’t factual but it hit me specifically when they talked about the number of astronauts that had died in the Space Race for NASA up until today and that all of them had died in training accidents completely leaving out the fact that the shuttle exploded one year.

  • May 25, 2020 at 5:23 am
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    I appreciated the facts but the show has an underhanded political slant towards democratic viewpoints. It’s subtle but rewatch the episodes and you’ll pick it up. Some in imagery and graphics. And some in the phrases and tone of the narrator. Can’t it just be a history show being politically neutral? Even the Space Race episode she says that the space race was a much needed political distraction.

  • May 25, 2020 at 7:57 am
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    I was excited about the series until the first few minutes on the genetics episode. She said chimpanzee was the closest genetic relative to humans at 96%. So, how can you trust any of the relational factoids? The show is about genetics! They couldn’t be bothered to Google it? One and done.

  • May 28, 2020 at 8:50 pm
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    Episode 2… the Constitution already applies to all Americans… you can’t legislate equality of outcome… so for equal pay… don’t take the job… collectively don’t take the job… I think women should make the same money as men, or more if their experience speaks to their value… but the concept of the ERA, is dumb as it is already in place.

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