History Channel has taken a half-dozen series and documentaries about various volcanoes in history and geography and woven them into a new series, bottled in a shiny new package.
Yes, you may have a sense of déjà vu about some parts of this series. It may depend on how much of a volcano freak you are: if you have followed these shows for 20 years, you may have a sense of familiarity with scientists and filmed segments.
The two-hour opener on “Fire and Fury” actually looks at four big volcano stories: Yellowstone, the Hawaiian Islands, Krakatoa, and Vesuivius. If you look at these four, you know fairly much the key info on volcanoes. One of the tip-offs of the show is that each volcano has its own experts—and never the twain shall meet.
That is an indication that these scientists worked on one segment for their own series in the past.
Yet, the stories are compelling about the dangers, and the inexorable nature of magma and explosions from deep within the Earth.
If there is any commonality in narration, it’s the the youngest scientists are rather cute, like Jacob Lowenstern or Mike Poland, two experts who are totally engaging. Lowenstern is strictly for Yellowstone, and Poland is strictly related to Hawaii.
The most devastating stories are Krakatoa, with its loudest explosion ever heard on Earth and its 3000-mile wide destruction that was Biblical, leaving 36,000 dead in one fierce eruption. Fifty years later, the damn thing started to build up again, and is called “Son of Krakatoa” by locals.
The most impending doom is for Vesuvius where millions of people live nearby, figuring the place is dormant because it has not erupted since World War II. Yet, Vesuvius has erupted 30 times since the Pompeii event. And, often there are many feet of soot and ash to clear away.
It’s all rather unnerving with hints of nuclear winter and inevitable destruction. Just what you need in a pandemic.