Big History (TV series)

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Big History
Big History (TV series) title card.jpg
Narrated byBryan Cranston
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Running time30 minutes
2 hour final episode
Original networkH2
Original releaseNovember 2 (2013-11-02) –
December 28, 2013 (2013-12-28)

Big History is an American television documentary series narrated by Bryan Cranston, which originally aired on H2 in 2013. It won the 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction.[1]

Each episode covers a single topic from history and shows connections between that topic and various fields of science and social science. Sixteen half-hour episodes aired in the first season, followed by a two-hour finale drawing connections between the sixteen topics.[2] The series has been criticized by Media Life Magazine for its factual inaccuracies.[3]

The series takes its title from a coinage by David Christian who describes Big History as an emerging academic discipline and approach to history that is less interested in wars and monarchs than it is in the way events are connected thematically and even molecularly, all the way back to the Big Bang.[4]

List of Big History episodes[edit]

No. Title Original air date Summary
1 "The Superpower of Salt" November 2, 2013 Just as we can't live without food, water, and air, so too do we need salt to survive. Salt is part of our chemistry that makes up our body, especially our brain. Our need for salt has determined the location of the first cities, built monuments like the Erie Canal and the Great Wall of China, and sparked revolutions in France and India.
2 "Horse Power Revolution" November 2, 2013 The horse is one of the most unique creatures in the world. Its nature gave it the ability to run long distance, and made it easy for man to domesticate. Once it became domesticated it revolutionized the size of empires, the languages we speak, and the clothes we wear.
3 "Gold Fever" November 9, 2013 Humans are hard-wired to desire for shiny things, such as water and gold. Gold's unique properties make it the most shiny metal in the world, and prevents it from corroding. Humanity's lust for gold has driven them to cross oceans in search of it.
4 "Below Zero" November 9, 2013 Cold has shaped the Universe and humanity in many ways, from the creation of stars to the color of your skin. While warm areas have produced civilizations, cold areas have produced barbarians.
5 "Megastructures" November 16, 2013 The biology and emotions of human beings have given them a desire to build massive structures, from the Great Pyramid of Giza to the Empire State Building. This is also a reflection of the basic principle embedded in the structure of the Universe.
6 "Defeating Gravity" November 16, 2013 Without the right kind of air and the perfect materials flight would be impossible. But Earth has the perfect ingredients for flight, from birds and bug to planes helicopters.
7 "World of Weapons" November 23, 2013 With small teeth and no claws humans are vulnerable. But with our bodies, such as throwing arms, and the right material, such as ancient bat poop, humans are able to make weapons for hunting and warfare.
8 "Brain Boost" November 23, 2013
9 "Mountain Machines" November 30, 2013
10 "Pocket Time Machine" November 30, 2013
11 "Decoded" December 7, 2013
12 "Deadly Meteors" December 7, 2013
13 "The Sun" December 14, 2013
14 "Rise of the Carnivores" December 14, 2013
15 "H2O" December 21, 2013
16 "Silver Supernova" December 21, 2013
17 "The Big History of Everything" December 28, 2013

Emmy Award[edit]

The 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction was awarded to the team of Flight 33 Productions:

Creative Director Steffen Schlachtenhaufen

Art Directors Dominique Navarro, Chris Ramirez

Visual Effects Supervisors Matt Drummond, Christopher Gaal, John R. McConnell

Compositors Dean Guiliotis, Carter Higgins, Brad Moylan, Ian Pauly

Lead 3D Visual Effects Artist Michael Ranger

3D Artist Scott Bell, Jennie Bozic, Keith Yakouboff, Sebastiano D’Aprile, Mario Cardona

Lead FX Artist Nico Sugleris


  1. ^ "Winners Announced for the 35th Annal News & Documentary Emmy Awards". Archived from the original on May 25, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (October 20, 2013). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Media Life Magazine "'Big History,' bad facts and much BS". Archived from the original on May 28, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2020. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  4. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (November 1, 2013). "'Big History,' a New Series, Debuts on H2". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 11, 2017.