Actor Morgan Freeman is on a mission.
The Oscar-winning actor has traveled the globe, interviewing people of various races, cultures, social and economic backgrounds.
On the heels of the award-winning “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman,” the team is back with a six-part series exploring what connects humanity.
“This is my journey: to discover the ties that bind us and the common humanity inside us,” says Freeman. “This is ‘The Story of Us.’ … It was an incredible global journey to understand how human culture has taken on so many remarkable forms.”
Installments premiere at 8 p.m. on NatGeo TV, starting Wednesday. (Check service provider listings.) Topics are freedom, peace, love, social division, power and rebellion. In each episode, Freeman poses a question, then contextualizes it with a variety of perspectives and insights.
What does it mean to be free? In “The March for Freedom,” Freeman talks to people about their beliefs about freedom — from a man born into slavery in North Korea to a woman born a man in war-torn Afghanistan.
“The Fight for Peace” grapples with whether conflict and violence are necessary forces that propel society forward. Freeman explores the ways we war and how we broker peace.
Freeman talks to a former drone pilot who now lobbies Congress to outlaw their use; explores post-genocide reconciliation in Rwanda; and examines the tenuous peace in Northern Ireland.
Admittedly, I was troubled by this episode. It’s graphic. I was especially troubled by Bolivian highlanders and lowlanders — sworn enemies — who ease tensions through an annual, ritualized, fist fight. The tradition, Freeman notes, has helped the bitter rivals avoid war.
Abbey Road opens part three, “The Power of Love.” The Beatles made the site famous in June 1967 when they broadcast a live performance of “All You Need Is Love” to a worldwide audience.
“It was the ‘Summer of Love,’” Freeman recalls. “There was a sense of hope. It’s easy, right? It seems naive now. But stop and think for a moment about how our lives are built around love.”
Among those Freeman interviews is Joshua Coombes, founder of #DoSomethingForNothing, a global social movement that encourages small, daily acts of kindness. Coombes gives free haircuts to homeless people as a way to restore dignity.
Remaining episodes include “Us and Them,” “The Power of Us” and “The Spirit of Rebellion.” The series coincides with a revised, updated edition of “National Geographic People of the World: Cultures and Traditions. Ancestry and Identity.” The book is available from most major booksellers.