BBC video documentary of how those in power have used psychology and modern marketing to control the masses. Four one-hour shows. Even better may be Adam Curtis's follow-up the politics of fear and nightmares series of 3 shows.
It's clear from The Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares, which charts the mirror image evolutions of radical Islamism and neo-conservatism, that Curtis is a skilled essayist and a prodigious researcher ( Century brims with amazing clips: vintage ads, early focus groups, primal therapy workshops, hidden-camera footage of WW II vets in analysis). But more than that, he's a historian of ideas who can bring them to life, not least because he recognizes how they mutate, cross-pollinate, and are susceptible to distortion. He's a gifted storyteller and an unabashed polemicist, guided by a crusading mistrust of the rich and powerful. His bold, broad-stroke arguments occasionally iron out nuance and sacrifice detail for the sake of elegant symmetry and paradox, but Curtis's telescopic vantage ensures that the view is worth it.