A series on the Discovery Channel I've enjoyed watching recently is Walking with Cavemen. They have started running new series of it and it is really compelling. Mom and Dad had a collection of the Time-Life Series: The Emergence of Man and it was great stuff to read as a kid. We always had lots of science books, series, and magazines around the house growing up and I have no doubt it contributed to my love of science and reading growing up.
I still really struggle to conceptualize the conditions our forebearers lived under and how they socialized in light of our "high-tech" surroundings. It was tough, but they were smart and clever. While they developed stone tools and honed their technologies as they migrated out the day would come thousands of years later when we would have modern weapons and technology and walk on the moon. It makes my mind spin.
Then there is the series "Man vs. Wild" where a modern survivalist leads us into surviving the wilds without almost any technology at all. And the just wrapped up run of "Everest: Beyond the Limit" proving there are places that man can go on the face of the earth that even with the best of technology...probably shouldn't.
"I Shouldn't Be Alive" is another compelling series where common folk like us get dropped into unimaginably harsh survival conditions and existence is no longer certain.
BLDG BLOG posted a fascinating article about what the world would be like if pate tectonics stopped. Imagine what it would be like. Some scientists think it actually happened at one point in earth's past--and might happen again in another 350 million years.
Useful Resource Link Find
Leggman's Time-Life Library website. Details all of the series offered by Time-Life, now no longer in print. I saw quite a few familiar titles in there that we had.