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Episode 1/3
Truth, Justice, and the American Way

During the Depression, the popularity of dozens of superhero characters opens the door for a new generation of artists and writers. World War II creates a patriotic fervor for star-spangled adventurers to represent the American spirit at war and on the home front, but in the 1950s, superheroes are caught in the fire of government scrutiny and regulation. When the thrilling “Adventures of Superman” is broadcast on the new medium of television, America’s first and greatest superhero leads the entire comic book industry to renewed strength.

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Great Power, Great Responsibility (1959-1977)

In the 1960s, a new breed of superhero emerges in the pages of Marvel Comics, inspired by the age of atomic energy and space travel and, in turn, inspiring the pop culture and pop artists of the time. Spider-Man, the Hulk and others are the first to have “problems” with which an adult audience can identify, and contemporary social issues make their way into comic books. Black powerhouses such as the Black Panther and Luke Cage appear on the scene, and the pages of “Green Lantern/Green Arrow” explode with relevant storylines as comic books are forced to confront the reality of an increasingly complex world.

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A Hero Can Be Anyone (1978-Present) 

Modern enthusiasm for superheroes has been embraced in all forms of media and by all demographics, beginning with the historic Superman movie featuring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. In 1986, Batman is overhauled as The Dark Knight to reflect the nocturnal underside of his character, and Watchmen bring new sophistication to comic book narratives, illuminating a violent and politicized world. In the burgeoning new millennium, superheroes have taken over popular culture with feature films, television shows and video games complementing a new generation of web-based comics that bring superhero adventures to every corner of the world.

Premieres Tuesday, Ocotber 15, 2013 on PBS

Australia with Simon Reeve

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Episode 1/3 Simon’s adventure starts in the magnificent ‘red centre’ of the continent and onwards through South Australia, via the extraordinary Indian Pacific Railway until he reaches the west coast city of Perth. On the way, he joins an Aussie rancher in the parched outback and takes part in a spectacular camel round-up. This mad […]

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Ice Age Giants

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Episode 1/3 Land of the Sabre-tooth Professor Alice Roberts journeys 40,000 years back in time on the trail of the great beasts of the Ice Age. Drawing on the latest scientific detective work and a dash of graphic wizardry, Alice brings the Ice Age giants back to life. The Ice Age odyssey begins in the […]

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The Man Who Shot Beautiful Women

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Documentary telling the gripping and shocking story of photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, who survived two world wars to become one of the world’s most highly-paid fashion photographers and a key influence on the development of photography as an art form. Yet after a mysterious death in Rome in 1969 his name is little-known today, the reasons […]

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Wild Side of Cats

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Why do cats scratch your furniture? Insist on climbing up curtains and sitting on top of the bookshelf? A team of cat experts come together to answer the questions that plague cat owners everywhere. State-of-the-art “cat cams” reveal exactly where a handful of specially selected cats go when they leave the house. Join us as […]

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North America

Episode 1/7 Born to Be Wild Take an extraordinary journey through North America and meet the incredible array of exotic wildlife that lives in our backyard. Through epic cinematography and compelling storytelling, we experience their struggle for survival in this land of extremes. Episode 2/7 No Place to Hide A world of extreme storms and […]

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How Sex Changed the World

Sex & Power These are the surprisingly true stories about how the sex lives of the powerful have shaken up history: from Warren G. Harding’s days as a playboy, to one women’s time in a prince’s modern day harem, to Rasputin’s legendary status as a ladies man and the potential trigger point for the Russian […]

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Natural World

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Leopards: 21st Century Cats Leopards are one of India’s most powerful predators. Built for strength rather than speed, they hunt in the shadows and ambush their prey. In an ever shrinking world, their lives are colliding with people – attacks are reported regularly and hundreds of these big cats are stoned, trapped or shot. What […]

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50s Britannia

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Episode 1/2 Rock ‘n’ Roll Britannia Long before the Beatles there was British rock ‘n’ roll. Between 1956 and 1960 British youth created a unique copy of a distant and scarce American original whilst most parents, professional jazz men and even the BBC did their level best to snuff it out. From its first faltering […]

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