Often I find myself flitting between genres when searching for something to watch on tv. Sometimes I want something dark and gritty, other times something light and fluffy or funny. Then there are times when I think I need to wake my brain up and so begins the hunt for an engaging and informative documentary series. And that is how I found Origins: The Journey Of Humankind on Disney+.
Made for National Geographic, Origins looks at eight fundamental aspects of humanity and traces their journey from their origins to where we are today. Almost everything that we have today stems from these eight things – Fire, Medicine, Money, Writing, War, Building, Curiosity and Transportation.
On the face of it, reducing the history of mankind to eight subjects may seem overly simplistic. However, the creators have done an incredible job building each episode so across the whole series almost all major aspects of modern civilisation are covered. And the information is fascinating. I had no idea that it was Kubla Khan, the Mongolian emperor, that invented paper money. Until then it was all silver coins. Or that it was his grandfather Genghis Khan who reigned over the largest empire the world has ever seen.
Did you know that some of the oldest cave drawings in the world date back more than 25,000 years and they represent the first attempt at written communication? How about the fact that eating meat used to take between 5-6 hours a day before Neanderthals discovered fire and learned to cook it, reducing eating time to just an hour?
There is so much information in Origins that it is impossible to go through it all here. Each episode has its own focus and blends historical reenactments with information from historians and subject specialists. And of course, it is all tied together by the show's host, Jason Silva.
If you want something different but very interesting, give Origins a chance. You can dip in and out of the episodes depending on what interests you the most but because it is so thorough, without being boring, you will easily watch all eight of them.