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NOVA; Darwin’s Darkest Hour


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Darwin’s Darkest Hour
Program Number

3605; 3606

Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

NOVA and National Geographic Television present the extraordinary human drama that led to the birth of the most influential scientific theory of all time. Acclaimed screenwriter John Goldsmith brings to life Charles Darwin's greatest personal crisis: the anguishing decision over whether to "go public" with his theory of evolution. Darwin, portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), spent years refining his ideas and penning his "Big Book," On the Origin of Species. Yet, daunted by looming conflict with the orthodox religious values of his day, he resisted publishing-until a letter from naturalist Alfred Wallace forced his hand. In 1858, Darwin learned that Wallace was on the brink of publishing ideas very similar to his own. In a sickened panic, Darwin grasped his dilemma: To delay publishing any longer would be to condemn all of his work to obscurity-his voyage on the Beagle, his adventures in the Andes, the gauchos and bizarre fossils of Patagonia, the finches and giant tortoises of the Galapagos. But to come forward with his ideas risked the fury of the Church and perhaps a rift with his own devoted wife, Emma, portrayed by Frances O'Connor, who clung to a devout, orthodox view of creation. Darwin in Crisis is a moving drama about the birth of a great idea seen through the inspiration and personal sufferings of its brilliant originator.

Both episodes broadcast on the same evening.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Darwin’s Darkest Hour,” 09/15/2009, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 23, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8886FAB8C9CE4A5298D116415A18470C.
MLA: “NOVA; Darwin’s Darkest Hour.” 09/15/2009. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 23, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8886FAB8C9CE4A5298D116415A18470C>.
APA: NOVA; Darwin’s Darkest Hour. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_8886FAB8C9CE4A5298D116415A18470C
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