God in America
- TV Series
How has religious belief shaped American history? What role have religious ideas and spiritual experience played in shaping the social, political, and cultural life of what has become the wo... Read allHow has religious belief shaped American history? What role have religious ideas and spiritual experience played in shaping the social, political, and cultural life of what has become the world's most religiously diverse nation? GOD IN AMERICA, a presentation of AMERICAN EXPERIEN... Read allHow has religious belief shaped American history? What role have religious ideas and spiritual experience played in shaping the social, political, and cultural life of what has become the world's most religiously diverse nation? GOD IN AMERICA, a presentation of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, will explore the historical role of religion in the public life of the U... Read all
At the end this is not really a recommended watch. It feels very dated, and the production is not slick in any sense. It reminds me of old school documentaries on VHS.
The first 4 episodes are actually pretty interesting at times. The acting out of old letters is weird and takes you out of the story as the actors are just acting for themselves in a small room. It's weird and hard to understand the old English presented in a theatrical way. It takes you out of the world. The stories about the people back in the days before cameras are great and deliver the best drama in the series. So it's a hit and miss, but overall there is something to watch there as you get those short interesting stories from A to B about some obscure person who lived a weird life.
The last 2 episodes then makes it seem like the whole documentary may be biased too. I know of Martin Luther King, Bush and Obama. No need to make 2 episodes about these old boring stories. I have seen them many times before. Here they focus on the religion, but it's basically just about their faith behind the scenes. It feels like the documentary makers just wanted to really force something modern into this documentary and just showed some of the most popular modern Americans to the kids. I'm also not really sure what role all those preachers play in modern history. I guess they did influence things, but it's all left hanging. There is for example no clear line between any preacher and then any other person in the documentary 20 years later. They are just presented as having lived. Which makes me think that the preachers from 1800's may also not have had as lasting influence as one may assume from the documentary. They never really proved any great and consistent effect over time. I'm also not really sure what this documentary is about. American religion? It starts out being about Christianity only. Which is not true for USA back then. Europeans weren't alone in USA. Today Christianity does seem to be the state religion of sorts, but the new episodes suddenly mention Islam as a peaceful religion without explaining what Islam even is or why it's relevant to any modern American values or laws. They should have made this about 1800's only and then also included American Indian religions.
Overall I knew about many of these stories and so will most viewers. There are some okay episodes here too though. I can't recommend the last 2 episodes as they try to be modern, but are about the 2000's. So 10-20 years old and maybe taking those current stories too seriously. There is a new president now. And they also seem to be about some obscure concepts that may have influenced the presidents, but maybe didn't. Overall the greatest fault in those 2 episodes is the same thing as in the first 4 episodes. They are not focused on a story. They are all over the place and not consistently telling a clear story about a single thing. They never really show anything clearly enough. So it's hard to really conclude that anything that happened there even matters today. I think it would be better if they clearly illustrated moral values and focused more on the population instead of mostly the presidents and then the big black people in American history.
- Jul 13, 2019