History of the World: Part II Review – a sequel that leaves more to be desired

By Emma Vine
Published: March 8, 2023 (Last updated: December 14, 2023)
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While History of the World: Part II lends an impressive cast and decent acting performances, the jokes fail to land, and the material presented leaves more to be desired.

We review the Hulu Original Series History of the World: Part II, which does not contain significant spoilers.

Forty-one years after the 1981 film History of the World: Part I was released, the sequel we never expected to happen, History of the World: Part II, premiered on March 6.

Consisting of eight episodes around 22–30 minutes long, the Hulu Original sees the return of Mel Brooks, who directed, wrote, and starred in the original movie. In the modern-day sequel, the Hollywood legend acts as a writer and executive producer alongside Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll, Ike Barinholtz, and David Stassen, who also portray multiple characters in the series.

The irony of this is how the original film concluded, hinting that there may be a part two. At the time, this was more of a gimmick than a definite plan, but the fact that it was brought to fruition all these years later certainly makes for a good story.

History of the World: Part II Review and Plot Summary

History of the World: Part II Review follows the same format as its predecessor, consists of comedy sketches exploring various historical events, and includes famous figures from differing periods.

In the opening scene, narrated by Brooks, he shares with the audience a summary of how the sequel came to be and his desire to create new content in the follow-up series that would differ from what was depicted in the original. I can certainly respect this as a viewer, as a rehashing of previous sketches just for the sake of it would have been unnecessary.

From The Civil War to The Russian Revolution, and with famous historical figures such as Rasputin, Amelia Earhart, Stalin, Sigmund Freud, and Shakespeare, the series covers a lot of ground and gives viewers variety when it comes to the history explored.

The best part of History of the World: Part II is the star-studded cast, equipped with actors that are household names, especially in the comedy world. Danny DeVito, Jack Black, Seth Rogan, and Johnny Knoxville all make appearances, so you’ll undoubtedly see some familiar faces and fan favorites.

But regardless of the talent onboard, the humor presented is sophomoric, and the material presented feels lackluster. I kept waiting for the joke that would finally land and have me in hysterics, but I was disappointed when that moment never came.

The series consistently intertwines historical events with present-day technology, society’s obsession with social media, and pop cultural references. This subject matter, however, is nothing we haven’t seen before, and the overuse of such references in modern-day sequels and reboots feels unoriginal.

The acting deserves praise, with the cast fully immersing themselves in their roles and bringing well-known historical figures to life. Even though the comedy didn’t resonate with me, the performances were still enjoyable, with Black and DeVito being standouts.

Is History of the World: Part II on Hulu good?

Though I wanted to love this sequel series, the humor depicted in History of the World, Part II didn’t land for me, and the jokes felt juvenile.

The impressive cast was still enough to entice me with each new episode, and the acting performances were decent, but as far as recommendations go, this wouldn’t make my list.

What did you think of the Hulu series History of the World: Part II? Comment below.

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