Note: This post is an assignment for a School Library Media/Materials course.

Bach, J. & Gelber, D. (Co-Creators). (2014, April 13). Dry season [Television series episode] in Abbasi, D. (Producer), Years of Living Dangerously. USA: Showtime

Bach, J. & Gelber, D. (Co-Creators). (2014, April 27). The surge [Television series episode] in Abbasi, D. (Producer), Years of Living Dangerously. USA: Showtime

Bach, J. & Gelber, D. (Co-Creators). True colors [Television series episode] in Abbasi, D. (Producer), Years of Living Dangerously. USA: Showtime


Qualitative Analysis (Text Complexity measure analyzed using SCASS/Achieve the Core):

Text Structure: The connections between some ideas or events are implicit or subtle, but in general organization is evident and generally sequential. When text features are used they directly enhance the reader’s understanding of content. Their use varies from episode to episode. Graphics, pictures, tables, and charts are mostly supplementary to understanding the text.

Language Features: Language is explicit, literal, straightforward, and easy to understand. The language is contemporary, familiar, and conversational language. Primarily simple and compound sentences are used, with some complex constructions.

Purpose: Implicit or subtle but fairly easy to infer; sometimes more theoretical or abstract than concrete, but easy to follow.

Knowledge Demands: Understanding relies on common practical knowledge and some discipline-specific content knowledge. The episodes include a mix of simple and more complicated, abstract ideas. There were few references or allusions to other texts or outside ideas, theories, etc.

Years of Living Dangerously is a documentary series and as such takes a specific position which is represented in the way they have edited the material. Each episode’s construction (the media’s grammar) has been done in such a way to support the position of the show’s creators.

Curricular Content standards:

AASL 21st Century Standards:

1.1.3 Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding.

1.1.4 Find, evaluate, and select appropriate sources to answer questions.

1.1.7 Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias.

2.1.1 Continue an inquiry-based research process by applying critical-thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, evaluation, organization) to information and knowledge in order to construct new understandings, draw conclusions, and create new knowledge.

2.1.3 Use strategies to draw conclusions from information and apply knowledge to curricular areas, real-world situations, and further investigations.

3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.

3.1.5 Connect learning to community issues.

4.1.1 Read, view, and listen for pleasure and personal growth.

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text’s explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.8 Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or technical problem.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.9 Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.


I was hesitant to review this series, despite how good it is because it is a Showtime original and therefore requires a subscription to view. Then I discovered that the National Wildlife Federation edited the series’ episodes to create curricula for schools (including the high school and college levels.) so I decided that it was Ok to review the series. The predominant subject of the series is climate change, but it also delves into social, economic, and political issues that all affect how climate change is addressed, so curriculum surrounding the series could be very interdisciplinary in science and social studies courses. Years of Living Dangerously also has a Showtime sync app that allows users to answer questions while watching the show.

Years of Living Dangerously Youtube Channel (watch full episode 1)

Years of Living Dangerously

Years of Living Dangerously/Showtime

National Wildlife Federation Climate Classroom