A friend of mine just reminded me a _great_ series from the late 70's called Connections. Thanks, Ian! It was a James Burke show that tied history and technology to show the web of ideas/thoughts/concepts/inventions that needed to weave their way through history to end up with a technology that is available today.
Needless to say, it was a fantastic series. As Ian noted on his blog post, Burke really nailed what would happen over the next couple of decades since the show aired. You really should watch it - (again as Ian mentioned), even if only for the white leisure suit ;-)
He followed up the Connections series with Connections^2, Connections^3 and The Day The Universe Changed. All are great. Here's a link to the playlists:
James Burke Playlists