Follow James Burke through the history of science and technology. In this collection of 10 1-hour episodes, starting with "The Trigger Effect".
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1978  

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Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  

James Burke explores key moments in Western History where new knowledge in science changed the way the modern Western world thinks.

Stars: James Burke, Roger Avon, Jeff Pirie
Engineering Connections (TV Series 2008)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Richard Hammond tell us about an extraordinary objects that created with science, art & technologies. Then also he reveal the big ideas and/or inspirations to create that massive masterpiece.

Stars: Richard Hammond, Stephen Ralphs, Hugh Hunt
Civilisation (TV Mini-Series 1969)
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Stars: Kenneth Clark, Nicholas Blake, William Devlin
The Ascent of Man (TV Mini-Series 1973)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

An account of man's development through his scientific and technological achievements.

Stars: Jacob Bronowski, Joss Ackland, Roy Dotrice
Cosmos (TV Mini-Series 1980)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  

Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe.

Stars: Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

How tenuous is man's hold on civilization when survival becomes an issue? When the lights go out and stay out for several days, suburbanites Matthew and Annie learn the hard way that man is... See full summary »

Director: David Koepp
Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue, Dermot Mulroney
The Avengers (1961–1969)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A quirky spy show of the adventures of an eccentricly suave British agent and his predominately female partners.

Stars: Patrick Macnee, Diana Rigg, Honor Blackman
Slings and Arrows (2003–2006)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

In the fictional town of New Burbage, legendary theatrical madman Geoffrey Tennant returns to the New Burbage Theatre Festival, the site of his greatest triumph and most humiliating failure... See full summary »

Stars: Paul Gross, Martha Burns, Stephen Ouimette
The Life of Birds (TV Series 1998)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

David Attenborough's comprehensive and richly detailed study of birds, examining the variety of different species and their ways of life.

Stars: David Attenborough
Ball of Fire (1941)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A group of ivory-tower lexicographers realize they need to hear how real people talk, and end up helping a beautiful singer avoid police and escape from the Mob.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka
Connections 2 (TV Mini-Series 1994)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Sequel series to the 1979 "Connections" where historian James Burke walks the viewer through the tenuous threads of history that link seemingly obscure scientific breakthroughs and the ... See full summary »

Stars: James Burke, Steve Davis, Mandy Maxwell
Connections 3 (1997–1998)
History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Stars: James Burke, John Carrigan
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James Burke ...
 Himself - Presenter (10 episodes, 1978)
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Storyline

This series explores the various paths of how technological change happens and the social effects of these changes on Western society. To illustrate this, James Burke follows various timelines of how one innovation lead to something seemingly totally unrelated in the future such as how a 17th century Dutch cargo ship design lead to development of plastic in the 20th century. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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17 October 1978 (UK)  »

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Trivia

The first episode of the series, "The Trigger Effect", was adapted into a film of the same name. See more »

Connections

Featured in Screenwipe: Episode #5.4 (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

An excellent series.
15 September 2011 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

When I first saw this series on PBS it was mesmerizing. James Burke was (and still is) a dynamo of enthusiasm for forward thinking science and progress. In his series he does away with epochs and eras of revolutions, and shows us various butterfly effects and inspirations for a plethora of things that helped improve human society.

I have to admit that I was then, and am still now, awed and perplexed as to how one can make such linear connections without the human artifice of defining periods of when certain technological and social explosions and convulsions took place. I'm a throw back to the "it happened in this period" mindset. Burke says "No, it happened like this..." and shows us what invention or discovery did what and for whom, and how that changed human society as a whole (in particular Europe and the US).

We're shown vignettes that describe breakthroughs, inspirations, discoveries, and applications thereof. We're told and shown the social climate of the time, and how times changed and were altered by new innovations.

In short, Burke shows us the connections. He shows us minds of the elite and not-so-privileged making contributions, and how their ideas resonated with one another to create even newer inventions and so on.

Production Values; shot on 16mm, the props, costumes and demonstrations of various apparatus (old and new alike) are top notch, as are the locations. James Burke himself is very energetic and easy to listen to as he explains his logic and paths of reason. The only critique is that the material is dated, but in a good way. Being a product of its age, "Connections" shows us a slice of time I was involved in, when computers were still largely business and university electronic mechanisms, and high technology meant a pocket calculator to do your math homework. It shows us a time when social ignorance of a different sort because of lack of communication was very much prevalent because of the political polarization on an international scope; the US and its allies were 1st world countries, the Soviets and their sphere of influence were the 2nd world, and every other nation not aligned was "the third world", and how this fueled inspiration and connections. So it is that we can go with James Burke to Dubai, London, New York, and Berlin, but not Beijing nor Moscow.

If you're interested in how things got going, and how we in the 70s looked at tomorrow, then definitely give this series a look. You won't be disappointed.


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