1900 House (PBS)
The premise of the series 1900 House is deceptively simple: see what happens when a modern family is transported 100 years back in time to live for three months in a townhouse carefully restored to 1900 standard of ambiance and amenities. As viewers watch the Bowler family—parents Joyce and Paul, daughter Kathryn, twins Hilary and Ruth, and son Joe—they attain a real understanding of the daily joys, struggles, and responsibilities of the average middle-class British family one century ago. Each family member agreed to wearing period clothing regularly, confining themselves to foods and products available in 1900, and doing all housework and cooking 1900-style. How the family copes with these challenges, plus their sacrifice of post-1900 conveniences, from phones and computers to movies and TV, gives viewers the vicarious experience of the strenuous lives of our not-so-distant ancestors. The result is an exploration of the radical changes in family and domestic life that have occurred over the past 100 years through scientific and technological innovation. Executive producers Leanne Klein, Alex Graham, and Beth Hoppe, producer Simon Shaw, directors Caroline Ross-Pirie and Jonathan Barker, and camera operator Rob Goldie give viewers a series that prompts laughter, thought, and the visceral understanding of how quickly and dramatically life changed in the twentieth century through the dynamic meeting of science and society. 1900 House is an often humorous, always perceptive, series about the realities of life in 1900 that reveals themes of perseverance, human adaptation and family dynamics in a manner deserving of a Peabody Award.