How the States Got Their Shapes

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How The States Got Their Shapes
How the States Got Their Shapes Logo.jpg
StarringBrian Unger
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2 (+ 1 special)
No. of episodes29 (+ 1 special)
Production
Production location(s)United States of America
Running time44 minutes (season 1)
23 minutes (season 2)
(+ 2 hour special)
Release
Original networkHistory
Original releaseApril 6, 2010 (2010-04-06) – December 22, 2012
External links
Website

How the States Got Their Shapes is a US television series that aired on the History Channel. It is hosted by Brian Unger and is based on Mark Stein's book, How the States Got Their Shapes. The show deals with how the various states of the United States established their borders but also delves into other aspects of U.S. history, including failed states, proposed new states, and the local culture and character of various US states. It thus tackles the "shapes" of the states in a metaphorical sense as well as a literal sense.

Each episode has a particular theme, such as how the landscape, language, or natural resources contributed to the borders and character of various US states. The show format follows Unger as he travels to various locations and interviews local people, visits important historical and cultural sites, and provides commentary from behind the wheel of his car as he drives from location to location. Interspersed with these segments are brief historical synopses by notable US historians.

The show started as a single two-hour special which first aired in April 2010 but returned as a regular series of one-hour shows starting in May 2011. Season 2 premiered in the fall of 2012, with a slightly more reality-oriented format and episodes shortened to half an hour, airing Saturdays on H2, with encore showings on Friday night on the History channel. Many of Season 2's episodes contained material already covered in Season 1.

Series overview[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
SpecialApril 6, 2010 (2010-04-06)
110May 3, 2011 (2011-05-03)July 12, 2011 (2011-07-12)
219September 29, 2012 (2012-09-29)December 22, 2012 (2012-12-22)

Episodes[edit]

Special (2010)[edit]

No.
overall
TitleOriginal air date
1"How the States Got Their Shapes"April 6, 2010 (2010-04-06)[1]

Season 1 (2011)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
21"A River Runs Through It"May 3, 2011 (2011-05-03)[2]
32"The Great Plains, Trains, & Automobiles"May 10, 2011 (2011-05-10)[3]
43"Force of Nature"May 17, 2011 (2011-05-17)[4]
54"State of Rebellion"May 24, 2011 (2011-05-24)[5]
65"Living on the Edge"June 7, 2011 (2011-06-07)[6]
76"Use It or Lose It"June 14, 2011 (2011-06-14)[7]
87"Church And States"June 21, 2011 (2011-06-21)[8]
98"A Boom with a View"June 28, 2011 (2011-06-28)[9]
109"Culture Clash"July 5, 2011 (2011-07-05)[10]
1110"Mouthing Off"July 12, 2011 (2011-07-12)[11]

Season 2 (2012)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleOriginal air date
121"Red State vs. Blue State"September 29, 2012 (2012-09-29)
132"White Collar vs. Blue Collar"September 29, 2012 (2012-09-29)
143"Hillbilly vs. Redneck"October 6, 2012 (2012-10-06)
154"Hatfields vs. McCoys"October 6, 2012 (2012-10-06)
165"North vs. South"October 13, 2012 (2012-10-13)
176"BigFoot vs. Aliens"October 13, 2012 (2012-10-13)
187"Great Lakes, Big Stakes"October 20, 2012 (2012-10-20)
198"Battle of the Bible Belt"October 20, 2012 (2012-10-20)
209"Vice vs. Virtue"October 27, 2012 (2012-10-27)
2110"MidWest vs. The Rest"October 27, 2012 (2012-10-27)
2211"Is West Best?"November 3, 2012 (2012-11-03)
2312"City vs. Country"November 3, 2012 (2012-11-03)
2413"East vs. West"November 10, 2012 (2012-11-10)
2514"Rebels & Outlaws"November 17, 2012 (2012-11-17)
2615"Mess with Texas"November 24, 2012 (2012-11-24)
2716"State vs. State"December 8, 2012 (2012-12-08)
2817"Rich vs. Poor"December 8, 2012 (2012-12-08)
2918"Big vs. Small"December 15, 2012 (2012-12-15)
3019"The United Shapes of America"December 22, 2012 (2012-12-22)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Stein, Mark, How the States Got Their Shapes, Smithsonian Books/Collins, 2008. ISBN 9780061431388

External links[edit]