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The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill

The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill

  • Premiered: 
    August 27, 2018
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: History - Aus
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter:
  • Tags: historical, travel

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Plot Synopsis

THE PACIFIC: IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN COOK WITH SAM NEIL is a six-part documentary series that follows actor Sam Neill, as he retraces the route Captain James Cook took 250 years across the Southwest Pacific. Visiting the islands and lands where Captain Cook sailed and meeting the descendants of the people Cook met, Neill explores the trials and triumphs, disasters and delights that followed.

Cook first set sail to the Pacific in 1768. These vast waters, one third of the Earth's surface, were uncharted -- but not unknown. A rich diversity of people and cultures navigated, traded, lived and fought here for thousands of years. Before Cook, the Pacific was disconnected from the power and ideas of Europe, Asia and America. In the wake of Cook, everything changed. In conjunction with the 250th anniversary of the HMS Endeavour's departure from England, Neill takes a deeply personal, present-day voyage to map his own understanding of Europe's greatest navigator -- and the immense Pacific Ocean itself. Setting sail on a great ocean tanker as well as many a smaller craft, Sam crosses the length and breadth of the largest ocean in the world to experience for himself a contemporary journey in Cook's footsteps.

The series opens with Neill visiting Tahiti and hearing from Tahitians about what Cook means 250 years on. Through the intercession of Joseph Banks, the expedition's botanist, Cook takes on board the high priest and navigator Tupaia whose significance, attributes and influence will develop along the voyage but not be fully registered until the end of the Twentieth Century. Much as Tahiti's centrality to the settlement of Oceania by Polynesians, people of the ocean, was not fully understood till recently. Sam encounters ardent enthusiasts and practitioners of Tahiti's vibrant culture. Some of the traditions are old, some new and when lost, he learns, the Tahitians are happy to make them up.

THE PACIFIC: IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN COOK WITH SAM NEIL had its U.S. premiere on Thursday, February 14, 2019, with back-to-back episodes from 10pm-Midnight ET / 7-9pm PT on Ovation:

"Endeavour and Tahiti" (10pm ET/7pm PT): On the 250th anniversary of Cook leaving Plymouth, Sam Neill visits Tahiti in the first of six episodes to follow Cook's journey around the Pacific, and hears from Tahitians about what Cook means 250 years on.

"Endeavour and New Zealand" (11pm ET/8pm PT): Sam Neill continues retracing Captain Cook's initial voyage through the Pacific. This time, like Cook, circumnavigating New Zealand/Aotearoa learning of the impact the explorer had on its Maori inhabitants.
Ovation debuted the finale of THE PACIFIC: IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN COOK WITH SAM NEIL, airing the U.S. premiere of the program's final two episodes from 10pm-Midnight ET/7-9pm PT on Thursday, February 28, 2019:

"Resolution and the North West Passage" (10pm ET/7pm PT): Sam Neill follows the path of Cook's third voyage into the Pacific, this time north to the Arctic, and his life-threatening attempt to locate the Northwest Passage.

"Resolution and Hawaii" (11pm ET/8pm PT): Sam Neill follows Cook through the Artic in search of the fabled Northwest passage and then south to Hawaii where the esteemed explorer would ultimately find his demise.


Other Titles

  • Aired in New Zealand as: Uncharted with Sam Neill

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Essential Media and Entertainment
  • Produced by Frame Up Films