Crash Course (YouTube)
Crash Course (sometimes stylized as CrashCourse) is an educational YouTube channel started by the Green brothers, Hank Green and John Green, who are notable for their VlogBrothers channel. Originally, John and Hank presented humanities and science courses to viewers, respectively, although the series has since expanded to incorporate courses by additional hosts.
|Created by||John Green |
|Creative director(s)||Thought Café (Formerly Thought Bubble)|
|Theme music composer||Jason Weidner|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||36|
|No. of episodes||1110 as of February 12th, 2019|
|Executive producer(s)||John Green|
|Running time||6–15 minutes|
2–4 minutes (Kids; Recess)
|Original release||January 26, 2012 –|
Crash Course was one of the 100 initial channels of YouTube's $100 million original channel initiative. Crash Course launched a preview on December 2, 2011. As of March 10, 2019, the Crash Course YouTube channel has over 9 million subscribers and the channel passed 1 billion total views in February 2019. In November 2014, Hank Green announced that a partnership with PBS Digital Studios would allow them to produce more courses, starting in January 2015.
To date, there are 36 main series of Crash Course, with John hosting nine and Hank hosting seven. Together with Emily Graslie, they also co-hosted Big History. Alongside the PBS partnership, and with John commencing a year-long hiatus from the show in 2015, additional hosts were brought in to increase the number of concurrent series: Phil Plait (Astronomy), Craig Benzine (U.S. Government and Politics and Film History), Adriene Hill (Economics and Statistics), Jacob Clifford (Economics), Shini Somara (Physics and Engineering), Andre Meadows (Games), Carrie Anne Philbin (Computer Science), Mike Rugnetta (Mythology and Theater), Nicole Sweeney (Sociology), Emily Graslie (Big History 2), Lily Gladstone (Film Production), Michael Aranda (Film Criticism), Thomas Frank (Study Skills), Jay Smooth (Media Literacy), and Evelyn Ngugi (Business: Soft Skills).
A second channel, Crash Course Kids, is hosted by Sabrina Cruz and has completed its first series, Science. The first foreign-language course, an Arabic reworking of the original World History series, is hosted by Yasser Abumuailek. The main channel has also begun a series of shorter animated episodes, called Recess, that focus on topics from previous Crash Course series.
|Series||Episodes||Series premiere||Series finale||Host|
World History 2
|January 26, 2012
July 11, 2014
|November 9, 2012
April 4, 2015
|Biology||40||January 30, 2012||October 29, 2012||Hank Green|
|Ecology||12||November 5, 2012||January 21, 2013||Hank Green|
|November 15, 2012
February 27, 2014
July 7, 2016
November 7, 2017
|January 24, 2013
June 12, 2014
September 8, 2016
February 13, 2018
|U.S. History||48||January 31, 2013||February 6, 2014||John Green|
|Chemistry||46||February 11, 2013||January 13, 2014||Hank Green|
|Psychology||40||February 3, 2014||November 24, 2014||Hank Green|
Big History 2
|September 17, 2014
May 24, 2017
|January 9, 2015
July 12, 2017
Emily Graslie[n 1]
|Anatomy & Physiology||47||January 6, 2015||December 21, 2015||Hank Green|
|Astronomy||46||January 15, 2015||January 21, 2016||Phil Plait|
|U.S. Government and Politics||50||January 23, 2015||March 4, 2016||Craig Benzine|
|Intellectual Property||7||April 23, 2015||June 25, 2015||Stan Muller|
|Economics||35||July 8, 2015||June 9, 2016||Adriene Hill|
Jacob Clifford[n 2]
|Philosophy||46||February 8, 2016||February 13, 2017||Hank Green|
|Physics||46||March 31, 2016||March 24, 2017||Shini Somara|
|Games||29||April 1, 2016||December 16, 2016||Andre Meadows|
|Computer Science||40||February 22, 2017||December 21, 2017||Carrie Anne Philbin|
|World Mythology||41||February 24, 2017||January 28, 2018||Mike Rugnetta|
|Sociology||44||March 13, 2017||February 12, 2018||Nicole Sweeney|
|April 13, 2017
August 24, 2017
January 11, 2018
|August 3, 2017
December 14, 2017
April 26, 2018
|Study Skills||10||August 8, 2017||October 10, 2017||Thomas Frank|
|Statistics||44||January 24, 2018||January 9, 2019||Adriene Hill|
|Theater||50||February 9, 2018||March 1, 2019||Mike Rugnetta|
|Media Literacy||12||February 27, 2018||May 15, 2018||Jay Smooth|
|History of Science||46||March 26, 2018||April 29, 2019||Hank Green|
|Engineering||46||May 17, 2018||May 2, 2019||Shini Somara|
|Navigating Digital Information||10||January 8, 2019||March 12, 2019||John Green|
|Business: Soft Skills||14||March 13, 2019||—||Evelyn Ngugi|
|European History||9||April 12, 2019||—||John Green|
|Series||Episodes||Series premiere||Series finale||Host|
|Science[n 3]||95||March 3, 2015||March 16, 2016||Sabrina Cruz|
Foreign language seriesEdit
|Series||Language||Episodes||Series premiere||Series finale||Host|
|World History[n 4]||Arabic||25||January 19, 2018||July 5, 2018||Yasser Abumuailek|
|Series||Episodes||Series premiere||Series finale|
|Recess||2||March 5, 2018||—|
|A History of Crash Course||1||December 4, 2018||—|
|How Crash Course is Made[n 5]||7||March 22, 2019||April 10, 2019|
The science series (and Philosophy, but not Computer Science) are filmed in Missoula, Montana, in a studio building that also houses SciShow. The Biology and Ecology series were filmed in front of green screen. From the Chemistry season onward, these series were filmed on new custom-built sets. These series are produced and edited by Nicholas Jenkins, while Blake de Pastino serves as script editor. The sound design and music for these series are provided by Michael Aranda and in later series, his company Synema Studios.
The humanities series (except Philosophy and Economics) and Computer Science are filmed in a studio in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is also home to The Art Assignment and Healthcare Triage. They are produced and edited by Stan Muller, Mark Olsen, and Brandon Brungard.
Crash Course Kids was filmed in a studio in Toronto, Ontario. The series was directed by Michael Aranda, and produced by the Missoula Crash Course team.
Crash Course Economics is filmed in the YouTube Space in Los Angeles, California, and produced by the Indianapolis Crash Course team.
Graphic design for all of the series except Biology and Ecology is provided by Thought Café (formerly Thought Bubble).
Starting with the Statistics course in early 2018, courses that are not PBS co-productions are directly identifying as made by Complexly, complete with logo branding and suggestions for their other channels.
The Crash Course YouTube channel was teased in December 2011, and launched in January 2012 as one of the initial original, YouTube-funded channels. In April 2013, John Green detailed that Crash Course was going through financial hardships. In July 2013, Hank Green expressed his frustration with the ways YouTube had been changing and controlling its website.
Funds from Google eventually ran out, and shortly after Green's A Chat with YouTube video, the VlogBrothers decided to launch Subbable, a crowdfunding website where viewers can donate, monthly, to channels in return for perks. Donating is optional, as Hank Green stated, "We ascribe to the idealistic notion that audiences don't pay for things because they have to but because they care about the stuff that they love and want it to continue to grow". Crash Course was the first series and channel to be offered on Subbable, and from this point onward, would be funded by the website. In March 2015, Subbable was acquired by Patreon, and Crash Course's crowdfunding was moved over to Patreon.
In 2014, Crash Course announced a partnership with PBS Digital Studios. The partnership will introduce Benzine and Plait, who have hosted U.S. Government and Politics, and Astronomy, respectively. Hank Green also announced he will be hosting an Anatomy & Physiology series, and that another host will host an Economics series, as John takes a year-long break from the series.
Some courses, presented by neither Hank nor John Green have been added to the Crash Course curriculum since it first began in 2012.
On March 25, 2016, the Crash Course YouTube channel uploaded a two-minute preview for Crash Course Games. It covers the history of games and several types of games, including board games, video games, card games, role-playing games, sports, and more. The series was hosted by Andre Meadows and premiered April 1, 2016.
On April 6, 2017, a preview for Crash Course Film was uploaded. The series consists of three segments: Film History hosted by Craig Benzine, Film Production hosted by Lily Gladstone, and Film Criticism hosted by Michael Aranda. Film History covers the invention of cinema technology, the evolution of film language, and trends in filmmaking. Film Production covers the process of filmmaking and the roles of key crew members. Film Criticism analyzes titles including Citizen Kane, Aliens, Selma, Do the Right Thing, Apocalypse Now, Moonlight, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
On February 2, 2018, a preview for Crash Course Theater and Drama was uploaded. The first episode was uploaded on February 9 of the same year. The show was is hosted by Mike Rugnetta, and covers the history of theater throughout different cultures and time periods.
John Green, one half of the VlogBrothers, began his Crash Course series on January 26, 2012, with World History. As a collective, John has referred to the courses he teaches as "Humanities".
As a result of a partnership with PBS Digital Studios, as well as John's decision to take a break from Crash Course in 2015, new hosts have been introduced to host the humanities courses: Craig Benzine (Government), Adriene Hill and Jacob Clifford (Economics), and Andre Meadows (Games).
Hank's sixth series, Philosophy, is also a humanities course, although it is produced by the team in Missoula who have traditionally produced the science series.
On January 26, 2012, the series launched with "The Agricultural Revolution" and a new episode aired on YouTube every Thursday. Throughout an episode, Green, the show's host and executive producer, elaborates on the topic presented at the beginning of the video. Raoul Meyer, an AP World History teacher and Green's former teacher at Indian Springs School, writes the show, with revisions and additions by Green.
Crash Course World History features recurring segments such as "The Open Letter," where Green reads an open letter to a historical figure, period, item, or concept. Occasionally Green converses with a naïve, younger version of himself whom he calls "Me from the past"; this character usually has naïve or obvious questions or statements about the topic. A running joke is that the Mongols are a major exception to most sweeping generalizations in world history. Mentions of this fact cue the "Mongoltage" (a portmanteau of "Mongol" and "montage"), which shows a drawing of Mongols shouting "We're an Exception!" followed by a three-second clip of a scene from the 1963 film Hercules Against the Mongols depicting a village raid.
In Crash Course World History, Green frequently encourages his viewers to avoid looking at history through Eurocentric or "Great Man" lenses, but to be conscious of a broader historical context. Crash Course World History, filmed in Indianapolis, has a broad following, having attracted millions of viewers. It has a particular appeal to American students taking the AP World History class and exam; many students and teachers use the videos to supplement their courses. Various episodes were featured in online news publications.
After 42 episodes, World History concluded on November 9, 2012. On June 27, 2014, in a video preview, John Green announced World History would return for a second season, lasting 30 episodes. Ultimately, the second season ended on Apr 4, 2015. He made a few predictions about the future and also quoted at his last sentence: "Also, thanks for watching this series. It has been amazingly fun to create, and we appreciate all of you."
John's second series is Crash Course Literature, which first aired as an eight-episode miniseries, from November 15, 2012. Works that have been covered include Romeo and Juliet, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and Emily Dickinson's poetry.
In February 2014, it was announced John Green would follow his U.S. History series with Crash Course Literature 2. This second season began on February 27, 2014, and ran for 16 episodes, covering ancient works such as The Odyssey and Oedipus and novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse-Five, Frankenstein, and Beloved.
In January 2016, John announced that a third season of Crash Course Literature would air in the summer. This season will cover The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Invisible Man, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Sula, Lord of the Flies as well as some Shakespearean sonnets.
On April 4, 2017 John Green revealed in a VlogBrothers video that Literature will be returning for a fourth series in Fall 2017; he mentioned Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell as a possible book to be covered. On June 22 of that year, at VidCon, the full list for the fourth season was announced: 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, Parable of the Sower, Candide, Macbeth, To the Lighthouse, The Yellow Wallpaper, and Pride and Prejudice.
On the January 24, 2013, finale of the first season of Crash Course Literature, John Green announced that it would be followed by Crash Course U.S. History, beginning the following week on January 31, 2013 with "The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards." Following in the tone set by World History, Green puts an emphasis on maintaining an open and non-Western view of American History. A new segment called the "Mystery Document" replaces the "Open Letter"; Green takes a manuscript from the fireplace's secret compartment and reads it aloud, then must guess its author and the source work it is excerpted from. If he is incorrect, he is punished by a shock pen. Whilst the Mongoltage is largely absent, the "Libertage," photos associated with America overtop an American flag with an electric guitar sound effect opening and ending with an explosion, appears whenever America's great national pride is referenced. The series ended on February 6, 2014. As with World History, Crash Course U.S. History is written by Raoul Meyer.
U.S. Government and PoliticsEdit
As part of the partnership with PBS Digital Studios, Craig Benzine, known on YouTube as WheezyWaiter, was brought in to host the U.S. Government and Politics series. Benzine said that the course will provide an overview of how the government of the United States is supposed to function, and how it actually does function. He also said that the course will teach about "the branches of government, politics, elections, political parties, pizza parties, and much, much more".
The series began on January 23, 2015, and ended on March 4, 2016.
In Hank's November 2014 announcement of the PBS partnership and the new series of Crash Course in 2015, he mentioned that a Crash Course Economics was in the works, but that it was not yet known who would present it. In February 2015, John announced that reporter Adriene Hill and high school teacher Jacob Clifford will host, and in July 2015, a preview video was released on the Crash Course channel. The series was launched on July 8, 2015, and finished on June 9th, 2016.
On January 18, 2016, Hank Green announced he would be hosting a new series about philosophy in February 2016. On February 8th, the first philosophy episode was released. Philosophy is the first course to have a corporate sponsor; Squarespace will present each episode. The series was launched February 8, 2016. The series is produced by the science-series team in Missoula, Montana, as the series focuses on issues in logic and the philosophy of science. The series ended on February 13, 2017.
On February 17, 2017, a preview for Crash Course Mythology was uploaded. Hosted by Mike Rugnetta, the series began on February 24, 2017. It covers creation myths, pantheons, destruction myths, heroes, mythical places, creatures, objects, and myths in the modern world.
Hank Green began his Crash Course series with Biology, on January 30, 2012. John referred to Hank's series as "the science stuff" counterpart to his humanities courses. As part of the partnership with PBS Digital Studios, additional hosts have been brought in to host recent series: Phil Plait (Astronomy), and Shini Somara (Physics).
A 2017 series, Computer Science, is also a science course, although it is produced by the team in Indianapolis who have traditionally produced the humanities series.
Hank Green's first series, Crash Course Biology, launched on January 30, 2012 with "That's Why Carbon Is a Tramp," and a new episode aired on YouTube every Monday until October 22, 2012. The series used humor to blend entertainment into its educational content. A recurring segment on the program is titled "Biolo-graphy," in which Green relays a short biography of a person who is usually associated with the topic of the overall episode. For the benefit of uncertain viewers, Hank Green links YouTube annotations to every specific subtopic he explains in the video at the conclusion of the episode (the annotations replay the video starting from the particular annotation the viewer selects). In July 2012, a Crash Course Biology episode discussing comparative anatomy was featured on a Mashable article.
In the final episode of Crash Course Biology, Green revealed that the successor series, Crash Course Ecology, would follow in the spirit of the Biology series. It premiered on November 5, 2012, and ran for 12 episodes.
In January 2013, Hank Green announced that his next series would be Crash Course Chemistry, following a similar style to his previous Biology and Ecology series. He talked about the importance of chemistry to the world, and talked about the series in a brief 2-minute preview video. This series premiered on February 11, 2013.
Anatomy & PhysiologyEdit
Phil Plait began teaching a course on astronomy on January 15, 2015. Plait stated that the course, "will cover basic topics in astronomy like motions in the sky, naked-eye observing, the planets, eclipses, stars, galaxies, and the whole Universe."
On January 29, 2016, the Crash Course Tumblr confirmed that the physics course will debut in late March, hosted by Shini Somara. A 2-minute preview video for Crash Course Physics was uploaded to YouTube on February 18, 2016. The series premiered March 31, 2016.
On February 28, 2017, a preview for Crash Course Sociology was uploaded. It premiered on March 13 and is hosted by Nicole Sweeney.
On January 17, 2018, a preview for Crash Course Statistics was uploaded. It will premiere the following week and is hosted by Adriene Hill, returning after having co-hosted the Economics series.
On May 10, 2018, a preview for Crash Course Engineering was uploaded. It is hosted by Dr. Shini Somara, returning after having hosted the Physics series, and will run for 46 episodes.
In May 2014, John Green mentioned an upcoming 10-episode Crash Course season on Big History, funded by a grant from one of Bill Gates' organizations. The series first aired on the channel of the Big History Project, rather than the Crash Course YouTube channel.
On August 19, 2014, the Big History Project channel began hosting episodes of a new co-hosted series, Crash Course Big History. This outlines the history of existence, from the Big Bang forward into the evolution of life. Both Green brothers host the series, with Emily Graslie participating as a guest host.
On September 17, 2014, the first episode of Crash Course Big History was posted on the Crash Course YouTube channel, one month after its premiere on the Big History Project.
In March 2017, Emily Graslie noted on her Twitter feed that she would be participating in a new Big History miniseries. The first episode of the second season was listed on the Crash Course channel on May 24, 2017; Graslie is the sole host for that season.
Crash Course KidsEdit
On February 23, 2015, a new series, Crash Course Kids was announced through a video preview on its own YouTube channel. This series is hosted by Sabrina Cruz, known on YouTube as NerdyAndQuirky.
On July 18, 2017, graphics team Thought Café tweeted an image of the Crash Course schedule which included Study Skills with Thomas Frank, set to start August 8.
On March 5, 2018, the first episode in the Recess format was posted. According to its description, this will consist of "short, fully animated episodes [which] are going to pop up a few times a year and will shed light on amazing stories from past or current Crash Course subjects that for one reason or another didn't make it into the shows."
On October 12, 2016, the Crash Course YouTube channel uploaded a 90-second preview for Crash Course Human Geography. The course was to discuss 'what Human Geography isn't, and what it is, and discuss humans in the context of their world'. The series would have been hosted by Miriam Nielsen.
A premiere episode was posted on October 19, 2016, and a second the following week; however, both were removed on October 27. John Green posted to Twitter that "...we got important things wrong. We'll rework the series... And we'll bring a better series to you in a few months." On October 31, 2016, John Green explained that the videos were removed due to "factual mistakes as well as too strident a tone." Green said it was caused by a rushed production stemming from staff and budgeting issues.
DVD box sets of the complete run of the Biology series and of season 1 of World History were made available for pre-order on October 31, 2013. In June 2016, the show's official site launched, providing free offline downloads of all episodes of every series completed to date.
- Graslie is the sole host of the second season.
- Clifford departed after the 29th episode, with Hill presenting the remainder solo.
- Hosted on the Crash Course Kids channel.
- Hosted on the DW عربية channel.
- A partnership with Adobe and hosted on the Thought Café channel.
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