Butterfly Effect • 2016 • 26 episodes • 10h:48m

Big movements of change have often started with tiny events or personal decisions that ended up affecting the history of our world.

Alexander Becomes Great

What if Alexander had not died at the age of 32? What if he had listened to advisors and returned to Macedonia instead of going on his worldwide conquest? How does the legacy of ideals and leadership left from Alexander's time resonate today?

1/12 • 2016 • History

Race to the Moon

What is the future of the human presence in space? How might things be different if there had not been a Cold War and a Space Race? What does humanity gain by venturing into our solar system...and beyond?

2/12 • 2016 • History

Martin Luther King Jr

What would the Civil Rights movement in the USA have been like if Martin Luther King, Jr. had not been motivating change? How does the legacy of the American Civil War still affect the American democracy?

3/12 • 2016 • History

King Philippe of France and Richard the Lionheart of England

A series of battles in France had an impact on modern day Europe and the fates of three countries down to our modern century. What might have happened if Richard the Lionheart had not been wounded? Or Philippe Auguste of France had fled the battlefield?

4/12 • 2016 • History

Confucius and China

The choices that Kong Qui, known in the West as Confucius, made during his career as a civil servant and administrator influenced an entire civilization. What if Kong Qui had been as opportunistic and corrupt as other officials? How might the fate of China and its worldview be changed?

5/12 • 2016 • History

Ghengis Khan

How did the events of his childhood shape the man who would become Genghis Khan? What impact did the Mongol invasions have on the history of Asia and on the psyche of Europe?

6/12 • 2016 • History


The decisions of only a handful of individuals determined the course of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. What transpired over a few hours would have an impact on the local community, Russia, Europe and the globe.

7/12 • 2016 • History


The shape of Japan's internal politics and the country's response to external influences for centuries can be traced back to the choices of two warlords and a decisive battle. What was the Edo Period and how did it mold Japanese society?

8/12 • 2016 • History

Einstein and the Manhattan Project

A famous scientist wrote to the President of the United States, and the face of war, and our world, was changed forever. How and why did humanity develop a weapon capable of almost total destruction?

9/12 • 2016 • History

Rome vs Barbarians

The untimely death of the Roman Emperor of the Western Empire and the poor decisions of the Roman Emperor of the Eastern Empire change the fortunes of the Roman Army in their battle with the Goths. And this changes the future of Europe.

10/12 • 2016 • History

The Internet

What if the source codes for the internet had remained with the US military, rather than being released to the world? How did our lives of unfettered internet access become a reality?

11/12 • 2016 • History

Birth of Rock

Elvis Presley paid $4 to record two songs for his mother and the rest, as they say, is history. But without Elvis, would rock and roll have gone the same route? And how have the many iterations of rock and roll developed and changed our taste and culture since the 1950's?

12/12 • 2016 • History

Charles Darwin

Picture the last two hundred years without the publication of Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" -- how might the scientific conversation have developed? What were the influences in Victorian England during Darwin's youth, and how tenuous was his opportunity for sailing on the Beagle's voyage?

2016 • Nature

Al Capone Child Of Prohibition

Unable to bring mob boss Al Capone to justice for many of the crimes ascribed to him, the US Federal government took a new tack to end the rule of gangsters in the Depression.

S2E1 • 2017 • People

The Suffragettes Battle for the Ballot Box

In late Victorian England, women began to organize to gain the right to vote. The fight for women's suffrage lasted well into the early 20th Century.

S2E2 • 2017 • History

Cortees at the Heart of the Aztec Empire

The encounter between the conquistador and opportunist Hernan Cortes and the indigenous peoples of Central America is one of history's tragic tales of greed, conflict, imperial weakness and superior weaponry.

S2E3 • 2017 • History

The Gold Rush for a Fistful of Nuggets

Timing is everything, just look at what happened in 1848. How did the finding of gold in Sutter's Mill make an impact on the development of California and the history of the United States?

S2E4 • 2017 • History

Cuba Nuclear Standoff

The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the defining moments of the mid-twentieth century and of the presidency of John Kennedy. How did the two Cold War powers of the USSR and the USA come to the point of threatening nuclear war?

S2E5 • 2017 • History

Black Death the Invisible Enemy

A disease that developed and killed within a few days decimates Europe and changes the course of history.

S2E6 • 2017 • History

Istanbul from One Empire to the Other

Constantinople was a part of the Roman Empire, then became the seat of the Byzantine Empire and then was the imperial city of the Ottoman Empire. Here is the story of the fabled city and its history of power and conflict through the ages.

S2E1 • 2018 • History

Aral a Sea for Cotton

The former Soviet Union collectivized many aspects of agricultural and industrial development in the 1950's. While some efforts were successful, others, like the cotton-growing around the Aral Sea, have proven to be an ecological nightmare.

S2E2 • 2018 • History

The Fall of Quebec France Loses America

The battle between the French and English for the French territory of New France hinges on the presence of the British navy. And the Battle on the Plains of Abraham is tipped to Great Britain by the solidly trained soldiers of the British army. This changed the landscape of North America.

S2E3 • 2018 • History

The Fronde

In the 17th century, a long period of civil war in France and war across Europe, rebellious members of the French Parliament, dubbed The Fronde, defy the monarchy and this defiance does not end well for them...and changes the history of France.

S2E4 • 2018 • History

The Olympic Games a Mirror to Society

How did one man succeed in relaunching the Olympic spirit and turn the Games into a global event?

S2E5 • 2018 • History


In the 15th century, an inventor in a workshop in Strasburg came up with a machine that would eventually change the history of the entire world and shake a religion to its core. The choice of the first work to be printed is an astute one: Saint Jerome’s Latin version of the Bible.

S2E6 • 2018 • History

Dunkirk Resist at All Costs

The dramatic story of the defense of France against Hitler's invading army in order to enable the desperate evacuation of over 300K men of the British Expeditionary Force and Allied troops across the English Channel to safety in 1940.

S2E7 • 2018 • History