The Ascent of Man (1973) was a groundbreaking BBC documentary series, produced in association with Time-Life Films, written and presented by Jacob Bronowski.
read the book, but never saw the documentary
another good british series is the 7 up series, it is a seven year cycle of films documenting the lives of some british children, now adults
the latest film, 49 up, was released in september 2005; filming for the next installment in the series, 56 up, is expected in late 2011 or early 2012.
i've also enjoyed anything that ken burns has had a hand in, especially the baseball series, am quite looking forward to the new one about war
about six years ago or so the CBC showed a three part series dealing with the cola conquest
THE COLA CONQUEST
Runtime: 150 min
Produced In: USA
Directed By: Irene Angelico
A three-part series shot in the US, Canada, Russia, England, France, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, the Sahara Desert and China, THE COLA CONQUEST takes us from Cokes invention by a morphine-addicted Civil War vet to the brink of the 21st century. Along the way we explore the delicious paradox at the heart of Coke: how does a soft drink, more than 99% sweetened water, come to wield enormous power and assume such significance in so many peoples lives?
PART 1: THE BIG SELL - Through a century of image-making with master artists - including the creation of our modern version of Santa - Coke sheds its patent medicine image to become first the drink for young moderns, and finally the most recognised brand name on earth. Cokes success spawns numerous imitators, including Pepsi, which is just another cola until it targets the "Pepsi Generation". With Pepss launch of the Michael Jackson campaign, the Cola Wars explode.
PART 2: COLA WAR AND PEACE - During World War II, Coca-Cola becomes an essential morale booster for the troops and a worldwide symbol of the American way of life. As the Cold War turns frigid, former Pepsi lawyer, Richard Nixon, gives Pepsi a decade-plus jump on Coke behind the Iron Curtain. But when the Berlin Wall falls, Coca-Cola is there passing out "the taste of freedom". Back at home, Coca-Cola plays a significant role in the American Civil Rights movement, and offers a Vietnam War-weary nation the ultimate commercial for world peace.
PART 3: COCA-COLONIZATION - Tea spills in China, wine in France and blood in Guatemala, as Coca-Cola teaches the world to acquire a taste for "The Real Thing". But as Coke - and Pepsi - are busy abroad conquering new markets, upstart colas are nipping at their heels back home. From the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the "Coca-Cola Olympics" in Atlanta, we see the globalisation of American pop culture, and corporate influence on the souls of the nation.