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» Wednesday, May 05, 2010History Lite
Is anyone watching America: The Story of US on the History Channel? Apparently it is the highest rated special ever or highest rated special on the History Channel, something like that.
I'm torn between enjoying it and being irritated by it. I certainly don't mind the historical recreations, and the computer graphics, while still pretty cheesy, illustrating various concepts, like how the Erie Canal looked after it was built, or the changing landscape. Even the narration—surprisingly not by Edward Herrmann!—isn't too bad, when it doesn't rely on clichè.
It's certainly going through history at a gallop. I don't think they even mentioned the French and Indian War, which removes a lot of what caused the Revolutionary War.
But what is with these "celebrities" offering commentary? I don't mind the historians, or someone who might know something about the subject—but what are Donald Trump, "Diddy" Combs, Michael Douglas, and others there for, besides "name power"? Now if "Diddy" comments on slavery, or Trump about robber barons, or Douglas about John Wilkes Booth, something that might have relation to their ancestry or occupation...okay, I can see that. But many of the commentaries seem superfluous.