Jason Bateman and Adrien Brody will narrate episodes of National Geographic Channel’s “Breakthrough” featuring directors Akiva Goldsman, Brett Ratner, and TheWrap has exclusive first look at the trailer for the series.
The scientific series — executive produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Steve Michaels, Jonathan Koch and Mark Dowley — documents leading explorers’ cutting-edge innovations and advancements and how those achievements will impact lives in the future.
“Breakthrough” specifically focuses on discoveries in brain science, longevity, water, energy, pandemics and cyborg technology.
Presented by Nat Geo and GE, the series will air on National Geographic Channels in 440 million homes in 171 countries and in 45 languages, as well as on the Spanish language network Nat Geo Mundo.
Each hourlong episode is directed by an accomplished player from the Hollywood industry: Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Howard, Goldsman, and Ratner. “Breakthrough” is produced by Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment.
Additional executive producers include Michael Rosenberg from Imagine Entertainment, Ryann Lauckner and Kurt Sayenga from Asylum Entertainment, Beth Comstock and Linda Boff from GE, and Michael Cascio and Allan Butler from National Geographic Channels.
Here is a breakdown of the episodes from Nat Geo:
“Fighting Pandemics” (Directed & Narrated by Peter Berg)
Premieres November 1 at 9pm ET/8pm CT
Berg will take viewers into the dramatic, inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking world of pioneers scrambling to stop an outbreak and save the world from future plagues. The current Ebola outbreak is forcing medical science to evolve as quickly as the virus it is fighting, provoking breakthroughs that may give birth to a world virtually free of pathogens. From antibiotics and vaccines to computer programs that predict how viruses will spread, new lifesaving tools will be used to fight a wide range of viruses in the near future, including HIV, influenza, dengue fever, malaria and a host of other killer diseases. Follow Dr. Maria Croyle, who has developed a revolutionary way to introduce a vaccine into a common cold virus; and Dr. Ian Crozier, a World Health Organization (WHO) virologist who fought Ebola in Sierra Leone until he contracted the disease himself and spent 40 agonizing days locked in an isolation ward at Emory University Hospital. Crozier recovered — only to find the virus was still multiplying in his eye.
More Than Human (Directed & Narrated by Paul Giamatti)
Premieres November 8 at 9pm ET/8 pm CT
Chances are you either are, or you know, a cyborg: a person who is aided or enhanced by embedded technology, such an artificial limbs or pacemakers. But advances in science are taking us beyond replacement parts and into a new realm that is changing the nature of the human body and the human mind. The fusion of biology and technology is making us better, stronger, faster and smarter. How we think, how we feel, how we experience the world: Everything is changing. Now we are learning how to manipulate our genetic code and seize the keys to creation. But as the natural and man-made worlds merge, will we become more than human? And do we risk losing our humanity? Watch Trish Aelker at Lockheed Martin Exoskeleton Technologies build exoskeletons that give mere mortals super strength, and Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, a brain-machine interfaces expert whose work with the Walk Again Project is giving hope to people with traumatic spine injuries.
Decoding the Brain (Directed by Brett Ratner; Narrated by Adrien Brody)
Premieres November 15 at 9pm ET/8pm CT
After millennia of speculation about what goes on inside the human brain, we now have the tools to explore its hidden reaches. These tools are leading to research that may help those suffering from afflictions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease. They are also shedding light on the mystery of consciousness and what makes us who we are. Meet leading researchers and scientists, such as Dr. John Schenck, who helped pioneer MRI technologies and was the first person to have his brain imaged by the machine in the early 1980s; and Dr. Steve Ramirez, who is investigating how to implant or erase memories and hopes his work could help people suffering from PTSD.
The Age of Aging (Directed & Narrated by Ron Howard)
Premieres November 29 at 9pm ET/8pm CT
In recent years, close study of the aging process has opened up new ways that could help us all live healthier for longer. Can we move beyond treating individual diseases and instead treat the aging process itself? Would a longer life necessarily be a better life? A loose-knit group of researchers believe the real breakthrough is extending our health span — the period of life spent free of disease. Hear from Laura Deming, who dropped out of M.I.T. and committed herself to finding and funding projects that can expand the human health span, and Dr. Brian Kennedy, whose work in the basic biology of aging has been crucial to the development of countless other researchers’ work.
Energy From the Edge (Directed by Akiva Goldsman; Narrated by Jason Bateman)
Premieres December 6 at 9pm ET/8pm CT
We are surrounded by clean, raw energy waiting to be tapped — energy that could eventually replace fossil fuels. Finding new ways to harness the energy around us takes a rare breed of scientist/engineers: men and women with a combination of technical skill, imagination and unwavering focus. This hour will follow innovative alternative energy projects and the colorful people behind them, like engineer Louis Michaud, who is building a tornado machine — and harnessing the energy it produces; and the team at the National Ignition Facility, who are trying to save the world by harnessing the power of controlled fusion.
Water Apocalypse (Directed & Narrated by Angela Bassett)
Premieres December 13 at 9pm ET/8p CT
California is on the brink of an apocalypse. The state faces a future of drought that will cost billions in lost farm revenue and thousands of jobs. The challenges facing the state are not unique: All over the world, governments are struggling with bigger populations and a diminishing supply of freshwater. Bassett will focus on inspiring stories of people working to change the world, such as Sandra Postel, who is trying to bring water back to the Colorado River Delta, which became a dried-up husk after the Colorado River was diverted to feed the western United States; Aaron Mandell, whose solar-powered desalinization project offers a way to conserve and reuse this precious resource; and Italian architect Arturo Vittori, whose quest to build a water-collecting tower in a remote village in Ethiopia dramatizes all the triumphs and challenges of innovation.