Bigger Bang has received a major commission from Curiosity, to bring back the iconic history series Connections, with legendary broadcaster and science historian James Burke once again at the helm. The series premieres on November 9th around the world, exclusively on Curiosity Stream, Curiosity’s flagship streaming service.
First airing in 1978, Connections became one of the most influential documentary series of all time with James Burke taking an entirely new, ‘connective’ look at history, to reflect the nature of the world at that time. Now, some four decades on, its revival is born: a new Connections – for our age, inspired by the challenges we face today.
“Increasingly today, change happens too fast for most of us to handle,” said James Burke. “Connections shows how this happens: because when things come together in new ways, 1+1=3. The connective approach offers a way to second-guess that process. And predict the future.”
In the new series (6×60′), Burke links a start-point in the past with the future, taking us on a journey of discovery through the interlocking threads of knowledge running through history, using CGI and virtual reality to unlock the power of his imagination. These steps – or connections– show how seemingly unrelated ideas bounce off one another, building a pathway through time that leads to a major, technologically related issue that will profoundly change what lies ahead. Each programme reveals an aspect of our future we urgently need to be thinking about now.
According to Bigger Bang co-founder Iain Riddick, Burke wanted his updated Connections to explore not only how we arrived at today, but also how we can shape the future we desire.
“The original Connections was perhaps the most influential documentary series of its era, greatly inspiring my desire to become a filmmaker,” added Riddick. “James is a hero of mine, so collaborating with him to bring Connections back to the screen has been an incredible thrill. Today, Connections feels more relevant than ever as we stand at a major inflection point, with technology on the verge of transforming our lives profoundly.
With the help of CGI, the series is set within an immersive digital realm referred to by Burke as ‘MindSpace’, which allows the series to breathe life into historical events by conjuring intricate visual representations. Riddick says MindSpace thus “becomes a captivating stage where James orchestrates an awe-inspiring narrative, blending the lines between reality and the digital world and offering an unparalleled and exhilarating journey through time and knowledge”.
Bigger Bang– which won an Emmy for its Curiosity original series Stephen Hawking’s Favourite Places – is known for its landmark history and science series.
“At Bigger Bang, our aspiration is always to go big and bold,” said Riddick. “So when considering how to revive such a legendary broadcaster and extraordinary series, we knew we had to tell each of the six mind-blowing stories in a unique way. The virtual MindSpace world helps James to conjure up any crucial moment or significant idea from history. I’m thrilled by what we’ve created with James and look forward to sharing it with audiences worldwide. His foresight remains legendary.”
“The stakes we’re facing are high – AI, limitless energy, genetically-engineered superhumans – and there is no better guide through this universe of connected people and ideas than the iconic science historian James Burke,” said Rob Burk, Head of Content for Curiosity. “We are thrilled to be working, once again, with our colleagues at Bigger Bang to bring back this groundbreaking series and reimagine it for a modern age.”
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