"First Peoples" starts tonight on PBS

First Peoples is a 5-part Science Show on PBS which is exploring the details of how our species, H. sapiens, became the “dominant species” on earth. I have high hopes for this, especially since there has been a revolution in our understanding of our own evolution based on DNA analysis in the last decade or so, and PBS does Science better than all the other channels put together.

Just a heads up for folks who, like me, are interested in this sort of thing. Tonight’s episode is about the peopling of the Americas (strange to do this first since it happened last) and episodes 3 and 5 should be especially interesting as they explores the peopling of Asia and Europe, respectively, and the interbreeding that took place with the extant, non-sapiens populations there.

How good can it be? It didn’t make the What to Watch guide in Entertainment Weekly. :rolleyes:

I’ll watch it . . . but why the hell aren’t they starting with Africa?

U.S.A.!! U.S.A.!!

You wanna start with Africa, get the African public broadcast organization to make a series!


Well, that wasn’t very good. Most of the first hour could have been made 20 years ago. And they kept showing that stupid clip over and over and over again of “Eva” with the blow-gun.

I did’nt realize they were going to show episode 2 (Africa) right afterward. That one was slightly better, but still not a lot of new material.

They must really hate that narrator: you could barely hear him over the irrelevant music!

Not impressed. Weak PBS effort.

I only watched the first hour (have the second on Tivo). Very disappointed. I got very tired of trying to understand the narrator through the blaring music. And many of the viewpoints were filled with logical inconsistencies, e.g. the “Dung Lady.”

I think Eva was buried alive, to prevent her from killing the entire tribe with her blow gun.

Now I have to apologize for roping you guys into this. Mea culpa!

Yeah, they subtitled the Native Americans, who were perfectly understandable. They needed to subtitle the scientists, who were unintelligible due to the roaring music.

It is kind of a rehash. But the audience for these shows isn’t just those already familiar with the topic. It’s a good series to have in their library.

A bit uneven. I was willing to buy into the “kelp highway” theory, but it seems one Danish DNA scientist’s tests changed everything. So people’s brains get smaller as they move into bigger groups? Huh. I still don’t think that explains the difference between Eva and native americans. I know the Clovus issue is a crux of American Anthropology.

I have the second ep, “Africa”, and will certainly watch that.

I was hoping for a NOVA level of quality. Those can be excellent. This was more DSC Channel.

What I thought of were the old Leonard Nimoy things (70s probably) on something like “In Search of Ancient Mysteries” or the like where the key words were along the lines of “Could it be…” and then some nonsense that had barely over zero chance of being even plausible. There were a bunch of those “speculation” shows asking “scientific” questions with no effort to present any solid cases. Just “what if” gasbagging.

Not a good direction for PBS to be heading…

It looks like I may have been a couple of decades off:

Ancient Mysteries (1994–1998)

ETA: See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Search_of…_(TV_series))

I watched a little bit of it, but rolled my eyes and lost interest when the guy (with his [del] supplier[/del] modern-day shaman) started smoking crack (or whatever it was). It was already on the path, but that scene quickly led the program from science to cinema and led me to do something else while it played in the background.

Their story of the supposed land-bridge over the bearing strait brought-up a question for me. They said that, after crossing the land-bridge, the humans had to stop because of the vast expanse of ice over Canada. My question is… wasn’t this land-bridge also a vast expanse of ice? And, if they could cross that ice, why was the canadian ice such an obstacle?

Certainly not NOVA, but better than ‘In Search of…’. DSC Channel is about right.

No, because of lack of precipitation.

I watched the first episode on-line, and I thought the recording was just of poor quality since I couldn’t hear the narrator talking under the music either.

Not at all impressed.

That’s what bothered me a lot. Same thing on TV (off the DVR actually). As the music came on the narrator’s voice faded out. I thought it was just me.

Watched the first two eps last night. I agree with posters above that the ‘music’ was way too loud, but even when it wasn’t, the narrator was hard to understand.
Also felt that they were trying to cram 5 minutes of information into an hour of programming.
Not well done at all.