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In this scene from the History Channel's miniseries, 'Mankind: The story of All of Us,' Spartans prepare for battle in 479 B.C. The series premieres tonight.
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Date published: 11/13/2012
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
How's this for an audacious history lesson?
In its new big-event TV series, the History channel will recap the entire story of mankind, covering every monumental event that has happened involving this little blue planet of ours, dating all the way back to the Big Bang itself.
What's more, the network will cover it all in a mere 12 hours of programming.
Which means one thing is certain: There's little possibility of getting bored while watching "Mankind: The Story of All of Us," because this is a history lesson that zips along at breakneck speed.
No time to dawdle when there are so many tent-pole moments in world history to address.
The six-week series makes its two-hour premiere at 9 tonight on History.
If you were among the 5.7 million viewers who watched the Emmy-winning "America: The Story of Us" on History in 2010, you know already what to expect from this follow-up. The same production team, headed by former Discovery Channel President Jane Root, is working from the same storytelling playbook, but on a much larger scale.
That means you'll get a lot of battlefield re-enactments (one thing that never changes about man is his propensity to make war), a lot of marginally useful computer-generated special effects (visually stimulating but often illustrating nothing) and too much pointless celebrity talking-head commentary (because the filmmakers evidently were dead set on weaving people such as Anthony Bourdain and Brian Williams into the mix).
But on the plus side, you'll also get an unconventionally structured and oft-enlightening version of world history that puts a premium on pinpointing pivotal course-changing events, the sometimes overlooked moments that led to man's greatest achievements in technology, travel, engineering and ideas.
"It's not every day that you set out to tell the entire story of civilization," network President Nancy Dubuc says. "This series will redefine history as we know it for people throughout the world: how it's told, how it's watched, how it's taught and how it's experienced."
No one can accuse the History channel of thinking small with "Mankind: The Story of All of Us."
WHAT: "Mankind: The Story of All of Us"
WHEN: Six-week series premieres tonight at 9
WHERE: History Channel