The BBC essay filmmaker behind 2007’s The Power of Nightmares is back with a new three-part work on mankind’s dependency on computer technology. Among the many topics covered are Alan Greenspan’s links to Ayn Rand; what Silicon Valley owes to Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism; and how, after the collapse of the Asian miracle economies in the late 1990s, the Chinese Politburo “designed a system to manage America.” Plenty to chew over—and that’s only in the first episode. Compulsive viewing.

“All of Adam Curtis’s BBC documentaries are structured on an unacknowledged contradiction. In revealing how perverse conspiratorial mindsets have blocked our ability to imagine alternatives to a self-immolating Western culture, his films wind up feeling perversely conspiratorial. Here he brilliantly provides the thread that connects Ayn Rand’s darting eyes on The Mike Wallace Interview to the genocide in Rwanda and the invention of video games. Whatever the occasional logical sleights of hand, the moral of this timely fable retains its force: the pervasive fantasy that self-interest will lead to a more harmonious and just society is patently false, and its effects continue to be devastating.” —Nico Baumbach, Film Comment, January/February 2012