[Netflix Review] History 101 – A mini docuseries on bite-sized history lessons

History 101 is a new Netflix mini docuseries that in theory, is really interesting; bite sized history lessons divided into ten 20 minutes episodes to give you a taste of different historical topics. If you are expecting history on the Roman empire, World Wars or even about Napoleon, you would be left disappointed. As misleading as the title is, History 101 is geared towards popular social topics and just a little bit politically charged.

History 101 gives us archival footages, some facts, the occasional graphs and some would say a soothing commentary on the figures and events. Yes, there are archival footages but it seems like they were slotted into random parts of the video. Maybe they ran out of the statistics and facts to show us, who knows. The commentary was really monotonous. Unlike Explained (another Netflix mini docuseries), the commentaries were done by different (famous) people for each episode and they sounded like they wanted to do it. The commentary in History 101 sounded like a robot was reciting a script written by a boring university lecturer. 

The topics are varied and interesting (fast food and it’s correlation to obesity to plastic pollution) but at the end of the day, it lacks depth. For example, in the first episode, ‘Fast Food’. You get fun facts on the fast food industry. They rack up $570 billion in sales every year and that 96% of American children know who Ronald McDonald is. The episode also highlights that because of the amount of waste it has produced, fast food companies have to come up with environmentally friendly packaging, for example, to solve that problem. 

However, this episode does not answer the ‘tougher’ questions we want to know about fast food. What are the demographics behind fast food consumption? What about the moral problems of McDonald’s and targeting vulnerable youth with widespread advertising for unhealthy food? Are fast food chains’ “healthy” choices really healthy? If so, “Healthy” compared to what? But ultimately, if the title of the show is called History 101, why is it after 20 minutes, we still do not know much about the history of fast food? 

Episode 1 trailer: Fast Food

So… can you imagine, 10 episodes similar to the one we described above. Let’s not forget ‘Fast Food’ is the first episode in this mini docuseries. That was just the start. If you thought that it will get better, you are wrong. The following episodes gets even more misleading and much more politically charged in its agenda driven writing. Oh, and History 101, episode 7 ‘Feminism’, the feminist movement did not start in 1970, it started at around 1850. It would be great if the facts given were actually right. 

If you’re looking for some bias writing or just some background noise when you’re doing your work. This is the mini docuseries for you. We hope that if there is going to be a second season, they would rename it “101 Facts you can find on Wiki”. History 101 is BRUTALLY DISAPPROVED.


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