A seeming American answer to the BBC series The Great War is a very good look at what happened when the world first exploded into world war. This is a very concise explanation of what happened to bring the world into the fires of war and what happened once we were there.
For the most part this is an excellent documentary series on the war and it's filled with great images and wonderful bits about the war and the world during it. Robert Ryan is a very good narrator and he tells you what is what with the style of a good news reporter.
The problem with the series for me is that it runs out of steam in the final five or six episodes. The episodes themselves were fine but watching the series in what amounted to a single sitting I found that they really didn't hang together and seemed to be crammed with filler material. For example, I very much enjoyed the episode on the music of the war, but at the same time it seemed like an attempt to fill time. I also think the end of the war is handled weakly with the attitude of "well the war ended and things were different. Goodnight"
Still despite the flaws anyone interested in what happened in the First World War should make an effort to see the series.