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BBS: The Documentary

All Episodes 2003 - 2005

  • Ended
  • SBS (AU)
  • 2005-05-21T00:00:00Z
  • 40 mins
  • 5 hours, 20 mins
  • United States
  • Documentary
Long before the Internet escaped from the lab, connecting the planet and redefining what it meant to meant to be a computer user... ...there was a brave and pioneering band of hobbyists who spent their time, money and sanity setting up their home computers and phone lines to welcome anyone who called. By using a modem, anyone who knew the phone number of these machines could connect to them, leave messages, play games, send and receive files in a virtual community... and millions did. They called these places "Bulletin Board Systems", or BBSes. Their collections of messages, rants thoughts and dreams became the way that an entire generation learned about being online.

36 episodes

Special 26 Bloopers

  • no air date — 40 mins

(Hidden on DVD, Disc 1)

1x01 Baud

  • Series Premiere

    2005-05-21T04:00:00Z — 40 mins

Baud introduces the story of the beginning of the BBS, including interviews with Ward Christensen and Randy Suess, who used a snowstorm as an inspiration to change the world.

1x02 SysOps and Users

  • 2005-05-28T04:00:00Z — 40 mins

Sysops and Users introduces the stories of the people who used BBSes, and lets them tell their own stories of living in this new world.

1x03 Make It Pay

  • 2005-06-04T04:00:00Z — 40 mins

Make it Pay covers the BBS industry that rose in the 1980's and grew to fantastic heights before disappearing almost overnight.

1x04 FidoNet

  • 2005-06-11T04:00:00Z — 40 mins

Fidonet covers the largest volunteer-run computer network in history, and the people who made it a joy and a political nightmare.

1x05 Artscene

  • 2005-06-18T04:00:00Z — 40 mins

Artscene tells the rarely-heard history of the ANSI Art Scene that thrived in the BBS world, where art was currency and battles waged over nothing more than pure talent.

HPAC (Hacking Phreaking Anarchy Cracking) hears from some of the users of "underground" BBSes and their unique view of the world of information and computers.

1x07 No Carrier

  • 2005-07-02T04:00:00Z — 40 mins

No Carrier wishes a fond farewell to the dial-up BBS and its integration into the Internet.

1x08 Compression

  • 2005-07-09T04:00:00Z — 40 mins

Compression tells the story of the PKWARE/SEA legal battle of the late 1980s and how a fight that broke out over something as simple as data compression resulted in waylaid lives and lost opportunity.