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  • Premiered: 
    November 1, 2015
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Nat Geo
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter:
  • Tags: science, engineering

Buy This Show on DVD or Watch Online

  • Click a button to buy a DVD at Amazon
  • Season 1
    • Amazon
  • Season 2
    • Amazon
Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

Each hourlong episode of BREAKTHROUGH, directed by a different Hollywood visionary, explores the courage, imagination, passion and self-sacrifice of scientists who bring lifesaving, mind-boggling innovations to life, and reveals how their cutting-edge advancements are changing the world. The first episodes explore remarkable breakthroughs in brain science, longevity, water, energy, pandemics and cyborg technology. Peter Berg tackles pandemics ("Fighting Pandemics"), taking viewers into the dramatic, inspiring and sometimes heartbreaking world of pioneers scrambling to stop an outbreak and save the world from future plagues. Paul Giamatti investigates the latest in technology that can change the human body and mind ("More Than Human"), revealing how the fusion of biology and technology is making us better, stronger, faster and smarter. Brett Ratner explores the brain ("Decoding The Brain"), shedding light on the mystery of consciousness and what makes us who we are and unveiling how tools are leading to research that may help those suffering from afflictions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. Ron Howard directs and narrates the longevity episode ("The Age of Aging"), showing how close study of the aging process has opened up new ways that could help us all live healthier for longer. Akiva Goldsman brings news about energy ("Energy from the Edge"), chronicling innovative alternative energy projects and the colorful people behind them. Angela Bassett deals with water issues ("Water Apocalypse"), narrating an episode that focuses on inspiring stories of people trying to bring water back to the Colorado River Delta, building a solar-powered desalinization process, and planning to build a water-collecting tower in a remote village in Ethiopia. Season 2 of BREAKTHROUGH premiered on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 10pm ET/PT on Nat Geo. The anthology series once again shines a light on the world's leading scientists and how their cutting-edge innovations and advancements will change our lives in the immediate future and beyond. The series brings to life the stories, people and technology behind these breakthroughs, and shows how they are reshaping our world. Season 2 continues the tradition of tackling thought-provoking topics -- including addiction, cyberterror, drones, cancer, big data and energy -- with a uniquely scientific perspective. The season opener, "Addiction: A Psychedelic Cure?," is directed by David Lowery and narrated by Mike Colter. Renegade researchers are fighting the medical establishment by exploring a controversial cure for our vices: psychedelic drugs. English countess Amanda Feilding (founder of the Beckley Foundation), Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris at Imperial College London and Dr. Matthew Johnson at Johns Hopkins University are reviving long-suppressed research into the therapeutic value of psychedelic drugs. Brain scans reveal that medically supervised trips may reboot the brains of addicts, but is this radical therapy powerful enough to break an opiate addiction? Additional Season 2 directors include: Ana Lily Amirpour, Shalini Kantayya, Emmett and Brendan Malloy, who also serve as executive producers on the series, Shane Carruth, Kurt Sayenga, and Steven Hoggard. Narrators for Season 2 also include: Barry Pepper, Sheila Vand, JK Simmons, Aaron Eckhart and Chris Pine.
On Tuesday, June 6, 2017 at 10pm ET/PT, Nat Geo premiered "Power to the People," the Season 2 finale of BREAKTHROUGH, which is directed by Shalini Kantayya and narrated by Chris Pine. Every year, worldwide consumption of electricity grows, yet there are still 1.3 billion people on earth who have never had access to power. Those who do have power face the reality of aging and vulnerable electrical grids that can't keep up with the increasing demand; mass blackouts are increasingly common around the world. But there may be a better way to bring power to the people: self-contained power systems called microgrids that collect energy from the sun and store it in batteries. This episode follows a team of fearless engineers as they make a dangerous trek across the high Himalayas to install a microgrid in a remote monastery. The engineers include Mike Wilson, senior program manager at IEEE Smart Village; energy program manager Meera Tandon; and Paras Loomba, the passionate founder of the Global Himalayan Expedition, which has brought light to thousands who lived in darkness. Back in the U.S., President and CEO of GE Power Steve Bolze and Chairman of Energy & Finance for New York Richard Kauffman plan for a future in which digital technology and alternative energy sources help us avoid total blackout devastation.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Imagine Entertainment
  • Produced by Asylum Entertainment