First up is Monday’s debut of Chain of Command, an eight-part documentary series made with incredible access inside the walls of the Pentagon and on the front lines of the U.S. military’s mission to fight violent extremism around the world.
The cable net, a joint venture of National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, also firmed up premiere dates for its Will Smith-hosted One Strange Rock (March 26), a look at the fragility and wonder of planet Earth from Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root, and America Inside Out with Katie Couric (April 11), a six-part documentary series in which the veteran TV news personality travels the country to sit down with the people shaping American culture today.
The basic-cable premiere of Jane is set for March 12, a week-plus after the 90th Academy Awards. Oscar nominations come out January 23, and the Goodall documentary is one of the 15 finalists, already having scored the Critics’ Choice Award in November.
Earlier this week, National Geographic Channel released a trailer for Season 2 of Genius, which will focus on Pablo Picasso (Antonio Bandera), and set an April 24 launch. Here are its new premiere dates and series descriptions:
CHAIN OF COMMAND
9 PM Monday, January 15
With incredible access inside the walls of the Pentagon and on the front lines of the U.S. military’s mission to fight violent extremism around the world, National Geographic’s new eight-part documentary series, Chain of Command, premiering on Monday, Jan. 15, at 9/8c, offers a new perspective on what has been dubbed the war of this generation. Filmed over 18 months and narrated by Chris Evans (“Captain America,” “The Avengers”), the global event series paints an intimate portrait of how men and women in the U.S. military handle authority and responsibility as well as the sacrifices they make in their personal lives.
8 PM Monday, March 12
Hailed by Vogue as “one of the best documentaries of all time,” the critically acclaimed feature documentary Jane will make its broadcast network debut commercial-free as a simulcast on National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD on Monday, March 12, at 8/7c on National Geographic. The film, which premiered at the iconic Hollywood Bowl in October to a sold-out audience of over 15,000, is the winner of the National Board of Review’s Best Documentary Feature award and the Critic’s Choice Documentary Awards’ Best Documentary prize. It’s also a BAFTA nominee and one of the top 15 documentaries in contention for this year’s Academy Awards nominations. Drawing from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage that has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for over 50 years, Jane is the story of the woman whose chimpanzee research challenged the male-dominated scientific consensus of her time and revolutionized our understanding of the natural world. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Brett Morgen (“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”) and set to a rich orchestral score from legendary composer Philip Glass, the film offers an unprecedented, intimate portrait of Jane Goodall — a trailblazer who defied the odds to become one of the world’s most admired conservationists. The film will be broadcast on both networks commercial free.
ONE STRANGE ROCK
9 PM Monday, March 26
Premiering on Monday, March 26, at 9/8c, acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (“mother!,” “Black Swan,” “Requiem for a Dream”) and award-winning producer Jane Root (“America: the Story of Us,” “The 80s: The Decade That Made Us”) join forces on an epic, cinematic event series that will redefine natural history filmmaking. Hosted by Will Smith (“Ali,” “Pursuit of Happyness,” “Men in Black” franchise), One Strange Rock promises to be a mind-bending, thrilling journey that explores the fragility and wonder of planet Earth, one of the most peculiar, unique places in the entire universe. It’s the extraordinary story of why life as we know it exists on Earth, brought into perspective by the only people to have left it behind: astronauts. This 10-part series from Nutopia and Protozoa Pictures brings cameras where they’ve never been before, having filmed in 45 countries, on six continents and from outer space on the ISS. One Strange Rock guides viewers through our vulnerable, tiny speck of a planet among the vast, harsh cosmic arena, revealing the magical twists of fate that have allowed life to emerge, survive and thrive only on Earth.
AMERICA INSIDE OUT WITH KATIE COURIC
America Inside Out With Katie Couric, a six-part documentary series premiering Wednesday, April 11, at 10/9c, follows Couric as she travels the country to sit down with the people shaping the most pivotal, evolving, contentious and often confusing topics in American culture today. Inspired by her own personal journey of making National Geographic’s critically acclaimed, groundbreaking documentary Gender Revolution (2017), Couric has expanded her commitment and each week will address some of the most divisive themes confronting our country today, including feminism, Muslims in America, political correctness, the impact of the white working class on the 2016 presidential election, controversial monuments and statues and the rapid growth of technology. Couric enlists cultural icons and regular folks to help her look past the noise, politics and individual discomfort to understand complicated truths.