Top PBS HD Documentaries of 2010

I have recently been matching many PBS documentaries on Nature and Nova, which are now all broadcast in high definition (HD). (I've been watching these via my personal media network, incidentally.) What follows is a list of the best such documentaries for 2010, and a brief synopsis. Also see my recommendations for the top PBS documentaries of 2006-7, 2008, and 2009.
  1. Nova: Building the Pharaoh's Ship. Based on archaeological finds and inscriptions from ancient burial sites, a team of archaeologists and Egyptian shipbuilders construct an authentic replica of an ancient Pharaoh's ship. The artisans craft the unusual ship using only hand tools and authentic materials. Can a ship made without glue or artificial sealants be seaworthy? This episode combines history, woodworking, and a good deal of excitement.
  2. Nature: Hummingbirds: Magic In the Air. Numerous incredible facets of hummingbird behavior and physiology are explored. Their incredible flying skills are explained with slow-motion, close up footage. Tremendous migrations, the longest by body length of any bird, are illustrated. And the incredible variations in body size and shape of the different hummingbird species (exotic tails, long bills, and more) are shown with incredible footage and informative narration.
  3. Nature: Clash: Encounters of Bears and Wolves. With recently reintroduced wolves now plentiful, grizzly bears must compete for prey where they once dominated unchallenged. Bear and wolf lives are shown independently and where they intersect, in interesting and surprising ways. Yellowstone park is present as a scenic backdrop throughout this intriguing (if slightly gory) episode.
  4. Nova: Mount St. Helens: Awake from the Dead. Interesting findings about the volcano itself and the unexpectedly fast recovery of the surrounding wildlife are presented in this episode. Massive growth of new peaks inside the crater is shown using time-lapse photography. Plants and animals are show thriving in the ash-filled slopes after the eruption. And the nearby lake is shown fully recovered and thriving after being completely devastated by silt flows.
  5. Nova: Riddles of the Sphinx. The Sphinx is examinged for clues to its origin, purpose, and construction. Fascinating details about its origin from the rocks at the base of the pyramids are presented. The alignment of the pyramids, the Sphinx, and a nearby temple provide strong evidence about which Egyptian ruler built the Sphinx.

Last modified on 3 Oct 2012 by AO

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