Airdate: Genius


SBS begins a US doco series, Genius, which details the rivalries for great inventions -and begins with the race to invent Television.

This is produced by National Geographic as American Genius as an 8 episode series, but SBS will screen it as Genius in double episodes across 4 weeks.

It is terribly over-produced built around emotive re-enactments, but in the second of the two episodes this Sunday you will get a sense of how TV was created separate to John Logie Baird.

Genius tells the story of the men and women that changed the way we live. These are the heroes, legendary icons, luminaries who changed the world through monumental innovations and staggering ingenuity. They gave us the aeroplane and the television, the six-gun, the A-bomb and the iPod…or at least they take credit for it.

But behind every great genius is a great rival, an unstoppable adversary with incredible vision, determination and ambition. Out of their struggles came breakthroughs, the spoils of the heated battle between competitors.

In this new four-part series, we hear the stories of how the ultimate rivals for posterity clashed, lost everything or triumphed. Genius reveals the fateful forces behind the greatest competitions for innovation and the contests that pit history’s brightest minds against each other in the race to lay claim to the future.

Episode One: “The Space Race: Korolev Vs Von Braun & Television: Farnsworth Vs Sarnoff”
1925- 1966: The Americans and Soviets, deadlocked in the Cold War, set their sights on “the final frontier” – outer space. And only one side can get there first. As soon as World War II ends, another conflict begins. But this war won’t be a battle of bullets: it will be a battle of minds. The Americans and Soviets, deadlocked in the Cold War, set their sites on “the final frontier” – in the race to space, only one side can get there first.

1918 – 1939: Philo Farnsworth has dedicated his life to developing the electric television. But when his idea gains the attention of RCA founder David Sarnoff, it kicks off a battle between power and perseverance. After sketching his idea for an “electric television” on his highschool chalkboard, Philo Farnsworth dedicates his life to gaining the knowledge necessary to make his dream a reality.

Sunday, 8 November at 8.35pm on SBS.


  1. Saw two double episodes and they are fantastic! Highly recommended. The people who created it clearly had a lot of love for the subject matter and it shows, with the superb production values enhancing the stories in my opinion.

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