History’s New Slate Includes Marvel-DC Comics Origin Stories Doc ‘Superheroes Decoded’

Cable channel greenlits 100+ hours of limited series and specials, including “America: Journey of the Brave”

History has ordered more than 100 hours of documentaries and specials, including “Superheroes Decoded,” which explores how the origin stories of our superheroes make up the building blocks of American mythology.

“Whether it’s a story from our distant past or a contemporary event that will shape our collective future, History’s robust new slate of documentary events will take viewers straight to the heart of epic events that shaped where we are and what we are today,” said Jana Bennett, president and general manager of History. “The network’s increased focus on documentary programming, collaborating with some of the best storytellers in the genre, along with our commitment to sustainable, premium non-fiction and scripted series, will continue to drive the ongoing success of the History brand.”

Below are some of the initial documentary projects, with descriptions all in the cable channel’s own word. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for all of these programs.

“America’s War on Drugs” – 4 x 2 hours
America’s War on Drugs has cost the nation $1 trillion, thousands of lives, and has not curbed the runaway profits of the international drug business. For the last 50 years, both the vilification and the celebration of recreational drugs has had incredible impact on our collective culture. This 8 hour mini-series will explore the strange revelations of the profit machine of the drug business, and the impact of the longest “war” in our nation’s history on our lives.

“America’s War on Drugs” is produced by Talos Films. Julian P. Hobbs, Elli Hakami and Anthony Lappé are Executive Producers for Talos.  Michael Stiller is Executive Producer for History.

“America: Journey of the Brave” (pictured above) – 2 x 2 hours
Every era begins with the human will to move. Between 1820, when proper record keeping began, and 2014, over 80 million people migrated to the US. During the Great Potato Famine, 1.5 million Irish departed for the shores of America. The Russian Empire saw 1.5 million Jews immigrate to the US from 1881-1914. In “America: Journey of the Brave,” History uncovers the great forces that set mankind in motion. Anchored by high-end graphics and based on research that pieces together the patterns of migration over 70,000 years, this two-part special will emphasize the massive movements of people that have occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

“America: Journey of the Brave” is produced by Nutopia. Jane Root is Executive Producer for Nutopia. Michael Stiller is Executive Producer for History.

“The Cars that Made America” (wt) – 3 x 2 hours
The epic stories of the iconic names behind the iconic cars that shaped America. The automobile steered America at every turn throughout modern history, but the world has not heard all the stories of those behind the wheel — men like Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, the Dodge Brothers, William Durant, Lee Iacocca and John DeLorean. History looks under the hood to reveal the winners who rose to fame and fortune and the losers who crashed and burned on the race to glory. From the birth of the American engine at the turn of the 20th Century through the Muscle Car era of the 1970s, the automotive industry’s shadowy legends are replete with titans and devils, genius and failure with one constant: the automobile has influenced us at every turn.

“The Cars that Made America” (wt) is produced by Magilla Entertainment. Matthew Ostrom, Laura Palumbo Johnson and Jason Fox are Executive Producers for Magilla. Sean Boyle, Stephen Mintz and Russ McCarroll are Executive Producers for History. 

“Superheroes Decoded” (wt) – 2 x 2 hours
“Superheroes Decoded” reveals how the origin stories of our most iconic superheroes are the building blocks of a uniquely American mythology. This special 2-night event is equal parts fan film and informed documentary, mixing clips from present-day blockbuster films with vintage comic book artwork and historical archival to tell the surprising story of the modern era through the lens of our fictional heroes. The program features heroes and villains from both Marvel and DC side by side, as well as commentary from creators, artists, filmmakers, famous fans, and the stars who bring these characters to life on TV and film. We’ll see how the rise of the superhero parallels America’s rise as a superpower in the 20th century, and how both stories continue to evolve into the future.

“Superheroes Decoded” is produced by Warrior Poets. Morgan Spurlock and Jeremy Chilnick are Executive Producers and Josh Mensch is Co-Executive Producer for Warrior Poets. Kristen Burns and Russ McCarroll are Executive Producers for History.

“How the 90s Changed the World” (wt- 2 x 2 hours
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the attack on the Twin Towers. A series of deep investigations explores the critical events that shaped the worldview of those who came of age during that time. Event by event, we see a generation impacted and influenced by an unprecedented era that straddled the end of a century and the beginning of an unimaginable new world. Ultimately, the series reveals the depths to which our near history directly shapes our present. Throughout the series, a chorus of extraordinary individuals born between the late 1960s and early 1980s contextualizes the times and provides a diverse, varied, and complete first person perspective on a generation’s journey through its formative years.

“How the 90s Changed the World” (wt) is produced RadicalMedia and directed by Paul Bozymowski. Dave Sirulnick, Jon Kamen and Justin Wilkes are Executive Producers for RadicalMedia. Zach Behr is Executive Producer for History.

“Age of Terror” (wt) – 2 x 2 hours
September 12th, 2001 was the dawn of a new age: The Age of Terror. The U.S. entered into war with an elusive new enemy: terrorism. It is a war that has lasted sixteen long years, taken tens of thousands of lives, and shifted the global landscape. Despite the enormous efforts to thwart our enemies, today terror is more prevalent than ever. It casts a dark shadow of fear over everything we do. It is the backdrop of our lives. How did this happen? And are we trapped in a war without end? “Age of Terror” seeks to answer these questions and more. Probing the historical roots of the conflict, it reveals how this war evolved, and how we’ve fought back. It provides context on today’s brand of terror, on how it has re-shaped our world, and what the future may bring.

“Age of Terror” (wt) is produced by Pulse Films. Fred Grinstein and Gretchen Eisele are Executive Producers for Pulse Films.  Kristen Burns and Russ McCarroll are Executive Producers for History. 

“Frontiersmen” – 4 x 2 hours (Previously Announced)
“Frontiersmen” will follow the stories of iconic pioneers such as Daniel Boone, Lewis & Clark, Tecumseh, Davy Crocket and Andrew Jackson as they set forth across untamed land. The series will span a formative period of American history — the first 75 years from the post-revolutionary war colonies through the California Gold Rush. “Frontiersmen” will show how the frontier helped shape us from colonists into today’s Americans.

“Frontiersmen” is produced by Appian Way Productions and Stephen David Entertainment. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, Michael Hampton and Phillip Watson are executive producers for Appian Way Productions. Stephen David is the executive producer for Stephen David Entertainment. Kristen Burns and Russ McCarroll are Executive Producers for History.

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