Far be it from me. Obviously. Ken Burns has lots of gold-plated little statuettes that prove that he is clearly more talented at making the television than I. But I? Am a consumer of the television arts. (Sometimes I’m a connoisseur, sometimes I’m the gal in line at the Wal-Mart mashing it into her maw like an open can of Pringles that she hasn’t paid for yet.)
Being a consumer, Ken, let me tell ya. I love your subject matter. (I’m not positive that I have the spiritual fortitude to carry through the entirety of your National Parks series because I’m more of an indoor gal, but I’ll give it the college try.) (Prohibition? Blew through that because-OBVIOUSLY I WANTED TO GET TO THE END.) And I am all for bringing better and higher thoughts to the members of my generation and the generation(s) (sigh) after me. I think it’s great. But we are not used to sitting still for an hour and a half on the underpinnings of the Civil War. And I was a history major, fer cryin’ out loud.
I cannot go to the movie theater anymore because I am simply incapable of sitting through any non-“Godfather” movie without a magazine and the internet and the ability to think of something I have to do in the middle and pause the thing while I go do it.
I am not alone here, Ken.
Morgan Freeman’s voice is like verbal whiskey. Intoxicating, but even if he were to recite love sonnets directly to me for an hour and a half, I’d be conked out halfway thru and the desired result would most certainly not be happening. He is an EXCELLENT voiceover choice, though. Well spotted.
So here’s my suggestion. Let’s get back to presentation basics. First, you gotta tell us what we’re going to see in this particular installment. Bullet points, if you will. (I hope that’s not a bad pun in light of the Civil War subject matter…) Three things. No more.
Then show us these three things-snappy, fast paced, with plenty of Mr. Freeman’s voice. (Only, not snappy with his voice. You don’t drink whiskey quickly or you regret it later.)
And then, in case we had a twitter emergency in the middle, give us a short synopsis of what you told us in that installment. To help us remember for the next installment.
And am I alone in thinking that 20 minutes is WAY too short for actual content? I’m totally okay with longer run times-the English have a way of non-traditional airtimes. Let’s bring them in to consult (we need only look to the popularity of a little show about an Abbey to see that Americans are TOTES willing to embrace the British concept of television) and figure out the happy medium between 20 minutes in which we learn nothing but laugh a lot, and an hour and a half (AHEM, Mr. Burns) where we would learn a lot if we could keep off the twitter or stay awake. The staying awake thing is proving more and more of a challenge as I get older. Being a grownup is ugly sometimes.
So. Let’s get on this, and I look forward to your next television achievement, Sir.