March 15th, 2011

never there

Michael Wood's Story of England; The Spice Trail x 2; A History of Ancient Britain

Two weeks worth of TV night in one, just a day before I watch some more! Very much mini commentary on these, I've been putting off writing about them for too long anyway.

Michael Wood's Story of England: This was the last episode of this series, and it had got up to the era of photography and living memory. As always that emphasises how much the world has changed over the last century (whereas reading documentation from longer ago emphasises how much people are people and the same under the skin). And it covered the two World Wars, which makes for poignant and saddening viewing.

The Spice Trail: We watched one of these each week, and have now finished the series. In contrast to the first episode I had no issues with it crossing the line into cringe-inducing watching in the other two :) Episode 2 (Nutmeg & Cloves) was very much a tale of European colonisers behaving badly in Indonesia. Episode 3 was about Saffron & Vanilla - I'd forgotten (if I ever knew) that vanilla is a New World spice, it's so ubiquitous and "normal" these days you don't think of it as not existing in European culture forever.

A History of Ancient Britain: Watched the first episode of this so far. Hate the camera work - too much shaky handheld stuff, and for heavens sakes stop playing with the focus point (and depth of field) just because you can. (And definitely a sign I've watched more telly over the last year than pretty much ever before that I'm having opinions about how it was filmed!) Content was good, however - and a reminder of how shallow our civilisation is, this was a whole hour's programme covering evidence for people in Britain for hundreds of thousands of years before there was farming. Including Neanderthals as people, here - evidence (in Britain) starts at ~500,000BC, farming gets developed (in the Near East) at ~6,000BC. (Edited to add: I mean shallow as in hasn't lasted long in the grand scheme of things, even compared just to having people about - not the other connotations of the word.)