Crash Course (YouTube)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Crash Course (disambiguation).
Crash Course
Crash Course Youtube logo.png
Genre Educational
Created by John and Hank Green (VlogBrothers)
Written by Various
Directed by
  • Stan Muller
  • Nicholas Jenkins
  • Michael Aranda
Creative director(s) Thought Café (formerly Thought Bubble)
Presented by
Theme music composer Jason Weidner
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 16
No. of series 14
No. of episodes 380[n 1]
Executive producer(s) John Green
Hank Green
Producer(s) Stan Muller
Danica Johnson
  • Stan Muller
  • Mark Olsen
  • Brandon Brungard
  • Nicholas Jenkins
  • Nicole Sweeney
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 10–15 minutes
6–10 minutes (Government)
2–4 minutes (Kids)
Original channel YouTube
Picture format 1080p
Original release January 26, 2012 (2012-01-26) – present
Related shows SciShow, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Crash Course (sometimes stylized as CrashCourse) is an educational YouTube channel started by the Green brothers, Hank Green and John Green, who are notable for their VlogBrothers channel.[1][2][3] Originally, John and Hank presented humanities and science courses to viewers, respectively,[4] although the series has since expanded to incorporate courses by additional hosts.

Crash Course was one of the 100 initial channels of YouTube's $100 million original channel initiative. Crash Course launched a preview on December 2, 2011. As of May 6, 2015, the Crash Course YouTube channel has earned over 3 million subscribers and has received over 222 million video views.[5] In November 2014, Hank Green announced that a partnership with PBS Digital Studios would allow them to produce more courses, starting in January 2015.

Currently there are fourteen seasons of Crash Course, with Hank and John each hosting five. Together with Emily Graslie, they co-hosted Big History. As part of the PBS partnership, Phil Plait and Craig Benzine are hosting series about Astronomy and U.S. Government and Politics, respectively. A second channel, Crash Course Kids, is hosted by Sabrina Cruz and has started its first series, Science.

Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Season premiere Season finale Host
World History
World History 2
January 26, 2012
July 11, 2014
November 9, 2012
April 4, 2015
John Green
Biology 40 January 30, 2012 October 29, 2012 Hank Green
Ecology 12 November 5, 2012 January 21, 2013 Hank Green
English Literature
Literature 2
November 15, 2012
February 27, 2014
January 24, 2013
June 12, 2014
John Green
U.S. History 48 January 31, 2013 February 6, 2014 John Green
Chemistry 46 February 11, 2013 January 13, 2014 Hank Green
Psychology 40 February 3, 2014 November 24, 2014 Hank Green
Big History 10 September 17, 2014[n 2] January 9, 2015 Hank Green
John Green
Emily Graslie
Anatomy & Physiology TBA January 6, 2015 upcoming Hank Green
Astronomy 46[6] January 15, 2015 upcoming Phil Plait
U.S. Government and Politics TBA January 23, 2015 upcoming Craig Benzine
Kids: Science 95 March 3, 2015 upcoming Sabrina Cruz
Intellectual Property 7 April 23, 2015 June 25, 2015 Stan Muller
Economics 40[citation needed] July 8, 2015[7] upcoming Adriene Hill
Jacob Clifford[7]


The science series are filmed in Missoula, Montana, in a studio building that also houses SciShow.[8] The Biology and Ecology series were filmed in front of green screen. From the Chemistry season onward, these series were filmed on a new custom-built set. These series are produced and edited by Nicholas Jenkins, with sound design by Michael Aranda, while Blake De Pastino serves as script editor.

The humanities series are filmed in a studio in Indianapolis, Indiana, and produced and edited by Stan Muller, Mark Olsen, and Brandon Brungard.

Crash Course Kids is filmed in a studio in Toronto, Ontario. The series is directed by Michael Aranda, and produced by the Missoula Crash Course team.

Graphic design for all of the series except Biology and Ecology is provided by Thought Café (formerly Thought Bubble).


Craig Benzine, host of U.S. Government and Politics, was brought on as part of the PBS Digital Studios funding deal.

The Crash Course YouTube channel was teased in December 2011,[9] and launched in January 2012 as one of the initial original, YouTube-funded channels.[10][11] In April 2013, John Green detailed that Crash Course was going through financial hardships.[12] In July 2013, Hank Green expressed his frustration with the ways YouTube had been changing and controlling its website.[13][14]

Funds from Google eventually ran out, and shortly after Green's A Chat with YouTube video, the VlogBrothers decided to launch Subbable, a crowdfunding website where viewers can donate, monthly, to channels in return for perks. Donating is optional, as Hank Green stated, "We ascribe to the idealistic notion that audiences don't pay for things because they have to but because they care about the stuff that they love and want it to continue to grow".[15] Crash Course was the first series and channel to be offered on Subbable, and from this point onward, would be funded by the website.[16] In March 2015, Subbable was acquired by Patreon, and Crash Course's crowdfunding was moved over to Patreon.

In 2014, Crash Course announced a partnership with PBS Digital Studios.[17] The partnership will introduce Benzine and Plait, who will host U.S. Government and Politics, and Astronomy, respectively.[18] Hank Green also announced he will be hosting an Anatomy & Physiology series, and that another host will host an Economics series, as John takes a year-long break from the series.[17]

Humanities courses[edit]

John Green, one half of the VlogBrothers, began his Crash Course series on January 26, 2012, with World History. As a collective, John has referred to the courses he teaches as "Humanities."[19]

As a result of a partnership with PBS Digital Studios, as well as John's decision to take a break from Crash Course in 2015, new hosts will be introduced to teach humanities courses. Craig Benzine began teaching his Crash Course U.S. Government and Politics on January 23, 2015.

World History / World History 2[edit]

John Green, co-creator of Crash Course and host of World History, English Literature, and U.S. History.

Crash Course World History[20] was the first series launched on the Crash Course channel, running from January 26 to November 5, 2012.

On January 26, 2012, the series launched with "The Agricultural Revolution", and a new episode aired on YouTube every Thursday. Throughout an episode, Green, the show's host and executive producer, elaborates on the topic presented at the beginning of the video. Raoul Meyer, an AP World History teacher and Green's former teacher at Indian Springs School, writes the show, with revisions and additions by Green.[21]

Crash Course World History features recurring segments such as "The Open Letter," where Green reads an open letter to a historical figure, period, item, or concept. Occasionally Green converses with a naïve, younger version of himself whom he calls "Me from the past"; this character usually has naïve or obvious questions or statements about the topic.[4][22] A running joke is that the Mongols are a major exception to most sweeping generalisations in world history. Mentions of this fact cue the "Mongoltage" (a portmanteau of "Mongol" and "montage"), which shows a drawing of Mongols shouting "We're the Exception!" followed by a three-second clip of a scene from the 1963 film Hercules Against the Mongols depicting a village raid.

In Crash Course World History, Green frequently encourages his viewers to avoid looking at history through Eurocentrism or "Great Man" History, but to be conscious of a broader historical context. Crash Course World History, filmed in Indianapolis, has a broad following, having attracted millions of viewers.[23] It has a particular appeal to American students taking the AP World History class & exam; many students and teachers use the videos to supplement their courses.[10][24][25] Various episodes were featured in online news publications.[26][27]

The series ended on November 9, 2012, after 42 episodes. However, on June 27, 2014, through the form of a video preview, John Green announced that World History would return for a second season, lasting 30 episodes.[28] Ultimately, the second season ended on Apr 4, 2015. He made a few predictions about the future and also quoted at his last sentence: "Also, thanks for watching this series. It has been amazingly fun to create, and we appreciate all of you."[29]

English Literature / Literature 2[edit]

John's second series is Crash Course English Literature, which first aired as an eight-episode miniseries, from November 15, 2012. Works that have been covered include Romeo and Juliet, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and Emily Dickinson's poetry.

In February 2014, it was announced John Green would follow his US History series with Crash Course Literature 2.[30] This second season began on February 27, 2014, and ran for 16 episodes, covering ancient works such as The Odyssey and Oedipus and novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse-Five, Frankenstein, and Beloved.

U.S. History[edit]

On the January 24, 2013 finale of Crash Course English Literature, John Green announced that it would be followed by Crash Course U.S. History, beginning the following week on January 31, 2013 with "The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards". Following in the tone set by World History, Green puts an emphasis on maintaining an open and non-Western view of American History. A new segment called the "Mystery Document" replaces the "Open Letter"; Green takes a manuscript from the fireplace's secret compartment and reads it aloud, then must guess its author and the source work it is excerpted from. If he is incorrect, he is punished by a shock pen. The series ended on February 6, 2014.[30] As with World History, Crash Course U.S. History is written by Raoul Meyer.

U.S. Government and Politics[edit]

As part of the partnership with PBS Digital Studios, Craig Benzine, known on YouTube as WheezyWaiter, was brought in to host the U.S. Government and Politics series.[17] Benzine said that the course will provide an overview of how the government of the United States is supposed to function, and how it actually does function. He also said that the course will teach about "the branches of government, politics, elections, political parties, pizza parties, and much, much more".

The series began on January 23, 2015.


In Hank's November 2014 announcement of the PBS partnership and the new series of Crash Course in 2015, he mentioned that a Crash Course Economics was in the works, but that it was not yet known who would present it.[17] In February 2015, John announced that Adriene Hill and Jacob Clifford will host,[7] and in July 2015, a preview video was released on the Crash Course channel. The series was launched on July 8, 2015.

Science courses[edit]

Hank Green, co-creator of Crash Course, has hosted several science courses on the series.
Phil Plait, the host of the Astronomy series.

Hank Green began his Crash Course series with Biology, on January 30, 2012. John referred to Hank's series as "the science stuff" counterpart to his humanities courses.[19] As part of the partnership with PBS Digital Studios, Phil Plait began presenting a series on astronomy in January 2015.


Hank Green's first series, Crash Course Biology, launched on January 30, 2012 with "That's Why Carbon Is a Tramp", and a new episode aired on YouTube every Monday until October 22, 2012. The series used humor to blend entertainment into its educational content.[31] A recurring segment on the program is titled "Biolo-graphy", in which Green relays a short biography of a person who is usually associated with the topic of the overall episode. For the benefit of uncertain viewers, Hank Green links YouTube annotations to every specific subtopic he explains in the video at the conclusion of the episode (the annotations replay the video starting from the particular annotation the viewer selects). In July 2012, a Crash Course Biology episode discussing Comparative anatomy was featured on a Mashable article.[32]


In the final episode of Crash Course Biology, Green revealed that the successor series, Crash Course Ecology, would follow in the spirit of the Biology series.[33] It premiered on November 5, 2012, and ran for 12 episodes.


In January 2013, Hank Green announced that his next series would be Crash Course Chemistry, following a similar style to his previous Biology and Ecology series. He talked about the importance of chemistry to the world, and talked about the series in a brief 2 minute preview video.[34] This series premiered on February 11, 2013.


On January 3, 2014, Hank Green teased the launch of a series on psychology, before launching it on February 3.[35]

Anatomy & Physiology[edit]

On January 15, 2014, Hank Green announced he would be hosting a new series about anatomy & physiology in 2015. The series began on January 6, 2015.


Phil Plait began teaching a course on astronomy on January 15, 2015. Plait stated that the course, "will cover basic topics in astronomy like motions in the sky, naked-eye observing, the planets, eclipses, stars, galaxies, and the whole Universe."[36]

Other series[edit]

Big History[edit]

In May 2014, John Green mentioned an upcoming 10-episode Crash Course season on Big History, funded by a grant from one of Bill Gates' organizations.[37] The series first aired on the channel of the Big History Project, rather than the Crash Course YouTube channel.

On August 19, 2014, the Big History Project channel began hosting episodes of a new co-hosted series, Crash Course Big History. This outlines the history of existence, from the Big Bang forward into the evolution of life. Both Green brothers host the series, with Emily Graslie participating as a guest host.[38]

On September 17, 2014, the first episode of Crash Course Big History was posted on the Crash Course YouTube channel, one month after its première on the Big History Project.

Intellectual Property[edit]

In February 2015, John Green announced that Crash Course producer Stan Muller would host a seven episode miniseries on intellectual property.[7]

Crash Course Kids[edit]

On February 23, 2015, a new series, Crash Course Kids was announced through a video preview on its own YouTube channel. This series will be hosted by Sabrina Cruz, known on YouTube as NerdyAndQuirky.[39]

Video release[edit]

DVD box sets of the complete run of the Biology series and of season 1 of World History were made available for pre-order on October 31, 2013.[40]


  1. ^ Count accurate as of July 12, 2015, and does not include outtakes, trailers, and preview videos.
  2. ^ Aired on August 19, 2014 on the Big History Project YouTube channel. Launched officially on the "Crash Course" YouTube channel on September 17, 2014.


  1. ^ Pot, Justin (April 7, 2012). "Crash Course: Entertaining YouTube Courses On History & Biology". Make Use Of. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Roetthers, Janko (February 16, 2012). "A first look at YouTube's new TV stars". GigaOM. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ Leib, Bart (March 23, 2012). "Scishow & Crash Course: Why Isn't School This Cool?". Wired. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Talbot, Margaret (June 9, 2014). "The Teen Whisperer". Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ "CrashCourse about". Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Not counting outtakes, there will be 46 :)". Twitter. April 6, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Crash Course Intellectual Property and Economics!". YouTube. February 18, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ Green, Hank (December 21, 2012). Meet the Team: The Missoula Office (And P4A and TheBrainScoop). Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ Green, John (December 2, 2011). Crash Course Preview. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Roettgers, Janko (February 1, 2012). "Cool for school: Education is a big hit on YouTube". GigaOM. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  11. ^ Gutelle, Sam (October 16, 2012). "Barack Obama Watches The Vlogbrothers". Tubefilter. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  12. ^ Gutelle, Sam (April 2, 2013). "John Green Talks 'Crash Course', 'Hank Games', And Hats In Reddit IamA". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ Gutelle, Sam (July 17, 2013). "Hank Green Is Pissed Off About YouTube’s Constant Changes". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  14. ^ Green, Hank (July 17, 2013). "A Chat with YouTube". hankschannel. YouTube. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  15. ^ Eifler, Emily (August 20, 2013). "Crowdfunding Matures with a Lesson from Public Broadcasting". KQED. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ Gutelle, Sam (July 22, 2013). "Vlogbrothers Launch Subbable, A 'Pay What You Want' Video Platform". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b c d Green, Hank (November 7, 2014). New Crash Course and Pizzamas!. VlogBrothers (YouTube). Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn (November 6, 2014). "Vlogbrothers Bring "Crash Course" Videos to PBS Digital Studios". Recode. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Green, John (February 27, 2014). A Long and Difficult Journey, or The Odyssey: Crash Course Literature 201. Crash Course Literature 2 (YouTube). Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  20. ^ Higgins, Chris (February 9, 2012). "John Green’s Crash Course in World History". mental_floss. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  21. ^ "History Teacher Discovers Talent As Educational Web Writer". Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School. November 5, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ Cicconet, Marcelo (April 7, 2013). "YouTube not just a site for entertainment, but education". Washington Square News. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ Young, Jeffrey R. (November 5, 2012). "Welcome to Star Scholar U., Where a Personal Brand Is the Credential". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  24. ^ Jaworski, Michelle (July 10, 2012). "How YouTube is revolutionizing education". The Daily Dot. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  25. ^ Quinn, Kate (October 30, 2014). "YouTube’s educational side". The Buffalo News. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  26. ^ Tepper, Allegra (July 24, 2012). "These 10 Videos Turn Tough Topics Into Child's Play - 4. CrashCourse World History: Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar". Mashable. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  27. ^ "John Green's Crash Course In Latin American History Covers Everything You Need To Know (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. September 1, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  28. ^ Green, John. World History, Year 2 Preview. Crash Course. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  29. ^ Green, John. Democracy, Authoritarian Capitalism, and China: Crash Course World History 230. Crash Course. Retrieved Apr 4, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b Green, John (February 6, 2014). Obamanation: Crash Course US History #47. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  31. ^ Grantham, Nick (February 29, 2012). "Meet Two Brothers Who Bring Biology And History To Life". Fractus Learning. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  32. ^ Tepper, Allegra (July 24, 2012). "These 10 Videos Turn Tough Topic Into Child's Play - 3. CrashCourse Biology: Comparative Anatomy". Mashable. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  33. ^ Green, Hank (October 29, 2012). Ecology - Rules for Living on Earth: Crash Course Biology #40. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  34. ^ Green, Hank (February 4, 2013). Crash Course Chemistry Preview!. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  35. ^ Green, Hank (January 3, 2014). The Golden Gate Bridge Didn't Collapse!!. VlogBrothers (YouTube). Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  36. ^ Plait, Phil (January 8, 2015). "Crash Course Astronomy Premieres Thursday, Jan. 15!". Bad Astronomy. Slate. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  37. ^ Green, John (May 20, 2014). Deserving. VlogBrothers (YouTube). Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Big History Project - CrashCourse Videos". Big History Project. YouTube. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Crash Course Kids Preview". YouTube. February 23, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015. 
  40. ^ DFTBA Records. "DFTBA - CrashCourse". Retrieved January 30, 2015. 

External links[edit]