The National Parks: America's Best Idea (TV Mini-Series 2009)

TV Mini-Series   |    |  Documentary, History


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The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009) Poster

The history of the U.S. National Parks system, including the initial ideas which led to the world's first national parks and the expansion of the system over 150 years.

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8.6/10
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  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009)
  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009)
  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009)
  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009)
  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009)
  • The National Parks: America's Best Idea (2009)

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12 October 2018 | richard-1787
7
| A mixed bag
I watched this series because I have very much enjoyed other of Burns' documentary series (The War, Baseball, The Civil War), and because I have some interest in the beauty of some of our National Parks in the West.

If you appreciate the beauty of nature, you will love this series. The cinematography is uniformly magnificent. The pictures and film of the great western parks most impressed me, but Burns and his crew took wonderful footage of all the parks they surveyed.

The "storyline" for me was more of a mixed bag. Whereas in The War, The Civil War, and Baseball I thought Burns did a great job of telling a chronological story, here I found that the story of the National Parks took a back seat to a too-large collection of how various average Americans have interacted with the parks. I understand that that is very central to the idea behind this series: that the parks are very closely linked to the average American. I think that point is someone exaggerated, frankly, but it's his point of view. The problem for me, especially in the later episodes, was that the various stories of how Americans have interacted with the parks, what the parks have meant to them, just didn't hold me. That's not a fault of the series. It's just that parts of it didn't coincide with my own interests, perhaps because I have not interacted with the parks as closely. Whereas I felt Burns did a great job, in The Civil War and The War (less so in Baseball), of integrating personal stories into the historical narrative - it is, perhaps, one of his greatest contributions to the art of the historical documentary - here I found that too often it did not work, or at least did not hold me.

Still, the nature photography is magnificent, and I recommend viewing the series.

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Documentary | History

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