Civilisations: Miniseries (2018)


Miniseries
Civilisations

Critics Consensus

Civilisations proves to be a worthy reboot of Kenneth Clark's 1960s series, whisking viewers across the globe for an engaging tour through the varied art forms that humanity has crafted over millennia.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 10

50%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7

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Episodes

Air date: Mar 1, 2018

Simon Schama looks at the formative role art and the creative imagination have played in the forging of humanity itself. Simon explores the remote origins of human creativity with the first known marks made some 80,000 years ago in South African caves - marks which were not dictated merely by humanity's physical needs.

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Air date: Mar 8, 2018

Mary Beard explores images of the human body in ancient art, from Mexico and Greece to Egypt and China. Mary seeks answers to fundamental questions at the heart of ideas about civilisations. Why have human beings always made art about themselves? What were these images for? And in what ways do some ancient conventions of representing the body still affect us now?

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Air date: Mar 15, 2018

Simon Schama explores one of our deepest artistic urges - the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature - rather it is a projection of dreams and idylls, as well as of escapes and refuges from human turmoil, the elusive paradise on earth.

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Air date: Mar 22, 2018

Professor Mary Beard broaches the controversial, sometimes dangerous, topic of religion and art. For millennia, art has inspired religion as much as religion has inspired art. Yet there are fundamental problems, which all religions share, in making the divine visible in the human world. How, and at what cost, do you make the unseen, seen? Beneath all works of religious art there always lies conflict and risk.

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Air date: Mar 29, 2018

Simon Schama examines how traditions developed in the years following the Renaissances. Think Renaissance and you think of Italy. But in the 15th and 16th centuries, the great Islamic empires experienced their own extraordinary cultural flowering. The two phenomena did not unfold in separate artistic universes - they were acutely conscious of, and in competition with, each other and mutually open to influences.

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Air date: Apr 4, 2018

David Olusoga shows how art was always on the frontline when distant cultures met. In the 15th and 16th centuries disparate cultures met, often for the first time. These encounters provoked wonder, awe, bafflement and fear. Each cultural contact left a mark on both sides.

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Air date: Apr 12, 2018

Simon Schama starts his meditation on colour and civilisation with the great Gothic cathedrals of Amiens and Chartres. He then moves to 16th-century Venice, where masterpieces such as Giovanni Bellini's San Zaccaria altarpiece and Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne contested the assumption that drawing would always be superior to coloring.

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Air date: Apr 19, 2018

If David Olusoga's first film in Civilisations is about the art that followed and reflected early encounters between different cultures, his second explores the artistic reaction to imperialism in the 19th century. David shows the growing ambivalence with which artists reacted to the idea of progress - both intellectual and scientific - that underpinned the imperial mission and followed the Enlightenment.

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Simon Schama explores the fate of art in the machine and profit-driven world, looking at the rise of art as a tradeable commodity. Should art create a realm separate from the modern world, a place where we can escape and pull the ladder up after us? Or should it plunge headlong into the chaos and cacophony while transforming the way we see it and live in it?

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Civilisations: Miniseries Photos

Tv Season Info

Critic Reviews for Civilisations Miniseries

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (5)

If the expanded view makes the ensuing narrative necessarily amorphous, it's also exciting, and compulsory viewing for a new generation of viewers who may not have seen the earlier productions.

Apr 16, 2018 | Full Review…

No, it's not Civilisation, but it is televisually more sumptuous, technology having improved so much since the 1960s. I enjoyed it.

Mar 5, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

While its frantic restlessness is undoubtedly wearying and queasy-making, I might invest in one of those anti-travel sickness wristbands before part two - there is, I think, no doubting the sincerity of its writer-presenter.

Mar 2, 2018 | Full Review…

There are ... some spectacular surprises.

Feb 26, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

There was no coherent timeline but, that said, I did enjoy seeing what I could see of the artefacts, given all the perching.

Mar 19, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

If nothing else, a kind of TV talent show for academics: Britain's Got Intellectuals.

Jun 28, 2018 | Full Review…

The series is an important one -- it should be watched.

Apr 17, 2018 | Rating: 8.1/10 | Full Review…

This series has sputtered as it attempts to include all world history, but it came thrillingly to life when Schama compared the Renaissance in East and West.

Apr 2, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

This is a series living, well, dying, in the shadow of the earlier one.

Apr 2, 2018 | Full Review…

Accessible and intelligent, Civilisations conveys a message of globalism, revelling in the variety of our species' ingenuity on an international scale.

Feb 26, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Civilisations: Miniseries

  • Feb 09, 2019
    Summary: christianity bad, islam good
  • Dec 03, 2018
    So much effort yet such indifference. Not unlike the british, the film-makers decided to completely ignore arguably the most widespread and prosperous of the old world civilizations. The Indus Valley Civilization. There are cave paintings in Bhimbetka that are anywhere between 100,000 to at-least 30,000 years old. Hand painted murals, the impression of a human hand, very much like what the film-makers show of the caves in Spain. They hire art critics to talk about sculptures in Greece and Rome and a truck driver to talk about art in India, the standard of editing takes a complete nosedive for the small portions that are shot in India anyways. At-least please, do not bring racism to art. You have exceptionally talented film-maker, why to stoop so low. This is sad.
  • Oct 31, 2018
    If you can tolerate the pretentious assumptions of what inspired the artist to create such art, the overly broad statements completely unsupported by facts and the ridiculously hyper-enthusiastic performance of the narrators- then this series is well worth watching for the visual aspects.

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