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American Experience

Season 31 2019
TV-PG

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  • 2019-01-16T02:00:00Z on PBS
  • 55 mins
  • 7 hours, 20 mins (8 episodes)
  • United States
  • English
  • Documentary, History
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8 episodes

31x01 The Swamp

  • Season Premiere

    2019-01-16T02:00:00Z — 55 mins

The history of the Everglades is a dramatic yet little known story of humanity’s attempt to conquer nature.

31x02 Sealab

  • 2019-02-13T02:00:00Z — 55 mins

On a February day in 1969, off the shore of northern California, a US Navy crane carefully lowered 300 tons of metal into the Pacific Ocean. The massive tubular structure was an audacious feat of engineering — a pressurized underwater habitat, complete with science labs and living quarters for an elite group of divers who hoped to spend days or even months at a stretch living and working on the ocean floor. The Sealab project, as it was known, was the brainchild of a country doctor turned naval pioneer who dreamed of pushing the limits of ocean exploration the same way NASA was pushing the limits of space exploration. As Americans were becoming entranced with the effort to land a man on the moon, these divers, including one of NASA’s most famous astronauts, were breaking depth barrier records underwater. Sealab tells the little-known story of the daring program that tested the limits of human endurance and revolutionized the way humans explore the ocean.

Part 1 of a three-part history of the space race. First up: America's struggle to catch up with the Soviet Union and the enormous stakes in the quest to reach the moon. Included: the breathtaking failures and successes of the developing U.S. space program.

31x04 Chasing the Moon - Earthrise

  • 2019-07-10T01:00:00Z — 55 mins

Part 2 of 3 details what it took to beat the Soviet Union to the moon in the space race. In the turbulent and troubled '60s, the U.S. space program faced tragedy with Apollo 1, but made a triumphant comeback with Apollo 8.

Conclusion. The triumph of the first moon landing, witnessed by the largest TV audience in history. But dreams of space dramatically intersect with dreams of democracy, raising questions of national priorities and national identity.

31x06 Woodstock

  • 2019-08-07T01:00:00Z — 55 mins

In August, 1969, half a million people from all walks of life and every corner of the country converged on a small dairy farm in upstate New York. They came to hear the concert of their lives, but most experienced something far more profound: a moment that would change them and the country forever, and define a cultural revolution.

31x07 The Feud

  • 2019-09-11T01:00:00Z — 55 mins

The feud between the Hatfields and McCoys is perhaps the most famous family conflict in American history. As legend has it, two neighboring families in the backwoods of Appalachia waged a crude and bloody war against each other over a stolen hog, an illicit romance, and longstanding grudges. Yet the events that took place near the end of the 19th century between the Hatfields and McCoys are part of a much richer and more complex narrative of the American experience.

Anderson Hatfield and Randolph McCoy, the patriarchs of the legendary feud, were entrepreneurs seeking to climb up from hardship after fierce economic competition and rapid technological change had turned their lives upside down. When members of both families took their grievances to court, their dispute escalated into a war between two families and a struggle between two states. The Feud reveals more than an isolated story of mountain lust and violence between “hillbillies” — the Hatfield - McCoy feud was a microcosm of the tensions inherent in the nation’s rapid industrialization after the Civil War.

31x08 Jubilee Singers

  • 2019-11-20T02:00:00Z — 55 mins

In the chaotic decade following the Civil War, a group of young ex-slaves in Nashville, Tennessee, set out on a mission to save their financially troubled school by giving concerts.

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