Crash Course (YouTube)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Crash Course
Crash Course Youtube logo.png
Created byJohn and Hank Green
Written byVarious
Creative director(s)Thought Café (formerly Thought Bubble)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons10
No. of series8
No. of episodes247[n 1]
Executive producer(s)John Green
Producer(s)Stan Muller
Danica Johnson
Location(s)Indianapolis, Indiana
Missoula, Montana
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time10-15 minutes
Original channelYouTube
Picture format1080p
Original runJanuary 26, 2012 (2012-01-26) – present
Related showsSciShow, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Crash Course (disambiguation).
Crash Course
Crash Course Youtube logo.png
Created byJohn and Hank Green
Written byVarious
Creative director(s)Thought Café (formerly Thought Bubble)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons10
No. of series8
No. of episodes247[n 1]
Executive producer(s)John Green
Producer(s)Stan Muller
Danica Johnson
Location(s)Indianapolis, Indiana
Missoula, Montana
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time10-15 minutes
Original channelYouTube
Picture format1080p
Original runJanuary 26, 2012 (2012-01-26) – present
Related showsSciShow, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Crash Course is an educational YouTube channel (sometimes stylized as CrashCourse) started by the Green brothers (Hank and John), who are arguably most notable for their VlogBrothers channel.[1][2][3] 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 24 October 2014, the CrashCourse YouTube channel has earned over 2.3 million subscribers and over 146 million video views.[4] John and Hank present humanities and science courses to viewers, respectively.[5]

Currently there are eight seasons of Crash Course, Hank has hosted four and John has hosted three, the latest, Big History is co-hosted between the two.

In November 2014, a partnership with PBS Digital Studios was announced, with plans to expand the channel with new hosts. Craig Benzine and Phil Plait are set to become hosts on the channel. As John is taking a break from the series, a third host, who is yet to be determined, is also set to be introduced.

Series overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesSeason premiereSeason finaleHost
World History
World History 2
30[n 2]
January 26, 2012
July 11, 2014
November 9, 2012
Biology40January 30, 2012October 29, 2012Hank
Ecology12November 5, 2012January 21, 2013Hank
English Literature
Literature 2
November 15, 2012
February 27, 2014
January 24, 2013
June 12, 2014
U.S. History48January 31, 2013February 6, 2014John
Chemistry46February 11, 2013January 13, 2014Hank
Psychology40February 3, 2014November 24, 2014Hank
Big History7[n 3]September 17, 2014[n 4]upcomingco-hosted

John Green's series[edit]

John Green, one half of the VlogBrothers, began his "crash courses" on January 26, 2012, with World History. As a collective, John has referred to the courses he teaches as "Humanities."[6]

World History[edit]

John Green, co-creator of Crash Course and host of World History, English Literature, U.S. History and Literature 201

Crash Course World History[7] was the first series launched on the Crash Course channel, running from January 26 to November 5, 2012.

On January 26, 2012, the series launched with "The Agricultural Revolution".[8] Crash Course World History aired a new episode 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. He also "goes" to the Thought Bubble, an animation of what he is explaining. Stan Muller is the editor and producer. 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.[9] Jason Weidner creates the music for the show. Suzanna Brusikiewicz, Jonathon Corbiere, Allan Levy, James Tuer, Nick Counter, Tyler Sammy, Corey MacDonald, Cody Brown, and Adam Winnik form "Thought Bubble"'s creative team.

Crash Course World History features several recurring themes such as "The Open Letter," a segment where Green first opens "The Secret Compartment" and grabs whatever is in it, then reads an open letter to a historical figure, period, thing, or concept. The contents of the Secret Compartment frequently connect to the video's main focus. Occasionally Green converses with a jaded, younger version of himself whom he calls "Me from the past" from which he usually responds to naïve or obvious questions or statements about the topic.[10][5] Arguably, the most popular recurring theme is "Unless you are (wait for it) the Mongols". This theme shows a drawing of Mongols shouting "We're the Exception!" followed by a three-second clip of a scene from the 1961 film "The Mongols" depicting a village raid. The Mongol clip entertained viewers so much that t-shirts referencing the meme are available.[11]

In Crash Course World History, Green frequently encourages his viewers to avoid looking at history through Eurocentrism or "Great Man" History, 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.[12] It has a particular appeal to American students taking the AP World History class & exam; many students and teachers use the videos to supplement their courses.[13][14][15] Various episodes were featured in online news publications.[16][17]

The series was thought to have ended on November 9, 2012, after 42 episodes. However, on June 27, 2014, through the form of a video preview, John Green announced that World History would return for a second season, lasting 30 episodes.[18]

English Literature[edit]

John's second subject is English Literature, airing as a miniseries which premiered on 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. There have been two outtake episodes of Crash Course English Literature.

In February 2014, it was announced John Green would follow his US History series, with Literature 2.[19] The second season began on February 27, 2014, covering epics such as The Odyssey and Oedipus and novels like To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse-Five, Frankenstein , and Beloved.

US History[edit]

On the January 24, 2013 finale of Crash Course English Literature, John Green announced that it would be followed by Crash Course US History, beginning the following week on January 31, 2013 with "The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards". Following the series on World History, Green puts an emphasis on maintaining an open and non-Western view of American History. A new segment called '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. The series ended on February 6, 2014, teasing the succeeding Literature series.[19] "Crash Course U.S. History" is also written by Raoul Meyer.

Hank Green's series[edit]

Hank Green, co-creator of Crash Course and host of Biology, Ecology, Chemistry, and Psychology.

Hank Green began his "crash courses" with Biology, on January 30, 2012. John referred to Hank's series as "the science stuff" counterpart to his humanities courses.[6]


Hank Green's web-based biology program, Crash Course Biology, launched on January 30, 2012 with "That's Why Carbon Is a Tramp". A new episode aired on YouTube every Monday until October 22, 2012. 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). On May 19, 2012, Green uploaded outtakes of the series. In July 2012, a Crash Course Biology episode discussing Comparative anatomy was featured on a Mashable article.[20] In the final episode, Green revealed that the successor series, Crash Course Ecology, would follow in the spirit of the Biology series.[21] The series used humor to blend entertainment into its educational content.[22]


As noted above, Hank's second course was Crash Course Ecology, following on from Biology. It premiered November 5, 2012, and ran for 12 episodes.


In January 2013, Hank Green announced he will soon begin releasing chemistry videos in the style of the 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.[23] This series premiered on February 11, 2013.


On January 3, 2014, Hank Green teased the launch of a series on psychology, before launching it on February 3.[24]

Co-hosted series[edit]

Big History[edit]

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.[25] 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 well.[26]

On September 17, 2014, the first episode of Crash Course Big History was posted on the Crash Course YouTube channel, one month after its première on the Big History Project.

Upcoming series[edit]

In 2015 four new Crash Course series will be released.


Craig Benzine, known on Youtube as WheezyWaiter, will teach a Government/Civics class.


Phil Plait will teach a course on Astronomy.


Hank Green will return to teach Physiology.


Crash Course Economics has been confirmed by Hank Green but did not confirm who will teach the class.

Production and funding[edit]

The Crash Course YouTube channel was teased in December 2011,[27] and launched in January 2012 as one of the initial original, YouTube-funded channels.[13][28] In April 2013, John Green detailed that Crash Course was going through financial hardships.[29] In July 2013, Hank Green expressed his frustration with the ways YouTube had been changing and controlling its website.[30][31]

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".[32] Crash Course was the first series and channel to be offered on Subbable, and from this point onward, would be funded by the website.[33]

From the Chemistry season onward, Hank's episodes were filmed on a new custom-built set at a Missoula, Montana studio.[34]

In April 2014, Hank Green uploaded a video, which he jokingly described as a "one-episode series", titled Crash Course Surveys, which asked viewers to fill out a survey to expand and increase the quality of Crash Course.[35]

In 2014, Crash Course announced a partnership with PBS Digital Studios.[36] The partnership will introduce Benzine and Plait, who will host U.S. Government, and Astronomy, respectively.[37] Hank Green also announced he will be hosting a Physiology series, and that another host will host an Economics series, as John takes a year-long break from the series.[36]

Video release[edit]

DVD box sets of the complete run of each of the World History and Biology series were made available for pre-order on October 31, 2013.[38]


  1. ^ Count accurate as of September 7, 2014.
  2. ^ As of October 22, 2014 only 12 episodes have aired. However, 30 episodes have been announced to air.
  3. ^ As of September 24, 2014 only 7 episodes have aired. However, 3 episodes from other Crash Course series have been included the official Big History playlist, totaling the series' episode count up to 10.
  4. ^ Aired on August 19, 2014 on the Big History Project YouTube channel. Officially, on the Crash Course channel was first aired on September 17, 2014.


  1. ^ Pot, Justin (April 7, 2012). "Crash Course: Entertaining YouTube Courses On History & Biology". Make Use Of. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Roetthers, Janko (February 16, 2012). "A first look at YouTube's new TV stars". GigaOM. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  3. ^ Leib, Bart (March 23, 2012). "Scishow & Crash Course: Why Isn't School This Cool?". Wired. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ "CrashCourse about". Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Talbot, Margaret (June 9, 2014). "The Teen Whisperer". Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Green, John (February 27, 2014). A Long and Difficult Journey, or The Odyssey: Crash Course Literature 201. Crash Course Literature 2 (YouTube). Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  7. ^ Higgins, Chris (February 9, 2012). "John Green’s Crash Course in World History". mental_floss. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ Green, John (January 26, 2012). The Agricultural Revolution: Crash Course World History #1. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ "History Teacher Discovers Talent As Educational Web Writer". Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School. November 5, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ Cicconet, Marcelo (April 7, 2013). "YouTube not just a site for entertainment, but education". Washington Square News. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Crash Course Mongols Shirt". DFTBA Records. Retrieved November 8, 2012. 
  12. ^ Young, Jeffrey R. (November 5, 2012). "Welcome to Star Scholar U., Where a Personal Brand Is the Credential". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Roettgers, Janko (February 1, 2012). "Cool for school: Education is a big hit on YouTube". GigaOM. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  14. ^ Jaworski, Michelle (July 10, 2012). "How YouTube is revolutionizing education". The Daily Dot. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ Quinn, Kate (October 30, 2014). "YouTube’s educational side". The Buffalo News. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  16. ^ Tepper, Allegra (July 24, 2012). "These 10 Videos Turn Tough Topics Into Child's Play - 4. CrashCourse World History: Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar". Mashable. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  17. ^ "John Green's Crash Course In Latin American History Covers Everything You Need To Know (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. September 1, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  18. ^ Green, John. World History, Year 2 Preview. Crash Course. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Green, John (February 6, 2014). Obamanation: Crash Course US History #47. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  20. ^ Tepper, Allegra (July 24, 2012). "These 10 Videos Turn Tough Topic Into Child's Play - 3. CrashCourse Biology: Comparative Anatomy". Mashable. Retrieved August 9, 2012. 
  21. ^ Green, Hank (October 29, 2012). Ecology - Rules for Living on Earth: Crash Course Biology #40. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved October 30, 2012. 
  22. ^ Grantham, Nick (February 29, 2012). "Meet Two Brothers Who Bring Biology And History To Life". Fractus Learning. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  23. ^ Green, Hank (February 4, 2013). Crash Course Chemistry Preview!. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  24. ^ Green, Hank (January 3, 2014). The Golden Gate Bridge Didn't Collapse!!. VlogBrothers (YouTube). Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  25. ^ Green, John (May 20, 2014). Deserving. VlogBrothers (YouTube). Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Big History Project - CrashCourse Videos". Big History Project. YouTube. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  27. ^ Green, John (December 2, 2011). Crash Course Preview. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  28. ^ Gutelle, Sam (October 16, 2012). "Barack Obama Watches The Vlogbrothers". Tubefilter. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  29. ^ Gutelle, Sam (April 2, 2013). "John Green Talks 'Crash Course', 'Hank Games', And Hats In Reddit IamA". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  30. ^ Gutelle, Sam (July 17, 2013). "Hank Green Is Pissed Off About YouTube’s Constant Changes". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  31. ^ Green, Hank (July 17, 2013). "A Chat with YouTube". hankschannel. YouTube. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  32. ^ Eifler, Emily (August 20, 2013). "Crowdfunding Matures with a Lesson from Public Broadcasting". KQED. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  33. ^ Gutelle, Sam (July 22, 2013). "Vlogbrothers Launch Subbable, A 'Pay What You Want' Video Platform". Tubefilter. Retrieved September 13, 2013. 
  34. ^ Green, Hank (December 21, 2012). Meet the Team: The Missoula Office (And P4A and TheBrainScoop). Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved February 5, 2013. 
  35. ^ Green, Hank (April 2, 2014). Crash Course Surveys. Crash Course (YouTube). Retrieved April 7, 2014. 
  36. ^ a b Green, Hank (November 7, 2014). New Crash Course and Pizzamas!. VlogBrothers (YouTube). Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  37. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn (November 6, 2014). "Vlogbrothers Bring “Crash Course” Videos to PBS Digital Studios". Recode. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  38. ^ DFTBA Records (October 31, 2013). "Products by Crash Course". Retrieved November 1, 2013. 

External links[edit]