A scene from <i>Mankind: The Story of All of Us</i>.

A scene from Mankind: The Story of All of Us.

Highlight: Mankind: The Story of All of Us Monday, History, 7.30pm

THIS ambitious documentary series in 12 parts has an epic sprawl and a budget to match - as the impressive re-enactments and CGI attest. But such an enormous subject - the history of humanity from the discovery of fire to the present day - means that each episode is of necessity a skim. Tonight, for instance, we go from the Vandals' sack of Rome in AD455 to the Crusaders' slaughter of the inhabitants of Jerusalem in 1099 in just 43 screen minutes. This allows for just one excursion outside Europe and the Middle East, a brief trip to Easter Island to see the famous statues being put up. Still, it was a good decision to focus this episode on the rise of Islam and Islamic culture, the Viking expansion into Europe and the First Crusade. The documentary also does a reasonably good job of using the stories of individuals to bring various times and places to life. The best of these is told from the perspective of the Arab traveller Ahmad ibn Fadlan, who met the Volga Vikings and found them both fascinating and appalling. Unfortunately, the whole thing is marred by the insulting decision to use D-list celebrities as talking heads alongside actual experts - tonight's include newsreader Brian Williams and former Navy SEAL Richard Machowicz from Deadliest Warrior, while other episodes feature the likes of chef Anthony Bourdain (who is great, but still …) and quackery-promoting TV doctor Mehmet Oz. It's a gimmick that detracts from what is an otherwise laudable venture and it only adds to the abundance of evidence that the History Channel remains committed to treating its viewers like cretins.

House of Lies, FX, 8.30pm

Enjoyable episode as consultants played by Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and Josh Lawson head to Utah to try to trick a hotel chain into thinking it's on the brink of disaster.

Enlightened, Showcase, 9pm

Amy (Laura Dern) finally gets her meeting with the boss and he doesn't seem to be quite the monster she thought he was.

Inside the Actors Studio: Liam Neeson, Bio, 7.30pm

New episode.