by James Christian
Ambrose Video: The Ambrose collection is scholastic in focus, with many videos on history and science. Topics include the American colonization, the Civil Rights movement and achievements in Native American history. The format is accessible, easily absorbed by younger viewers, although the muzak and narration may strike some students as corny. Ambrose also contains the complete works of Shakespeare, presented by the BBC.
Films On Demand (FOD): FOD covers similar topics, but from slightly more adult perspective. Much of the content is gleaned from various news networks. In addition to the science and history content, FOD offers hundreds of videos on sociology, anthropology, the arts and archival footage. Series like Gangland and Ken Burns’ Jazz have multiple entries. The vast selection is not only informative, but entertaining as well.
If you’re into pop culture, FOD has you covered. $100 and a T-Shirt illustrates the rise of independently-published “zines.” Rhyme Pays scrutinizes the long-running practice of product placement in hip-hop and its impact on rap fans’ buying habits. Some of the stars (50 Cent, Nelly, etc.) may have faded but the topic is pertinent as ever. Put the Needle on the Record chronicles the history dance music, from disco to the current EDM boom. For you serious electronic music fans, there is even a 3-hour Kraftwerk documentary.
Whether you’re looking to beef up your works cited page or simply enjoy a documentary, the streaming video collection is well worth exploring.