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PBS: India series

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Joined: December 2008

PBS: India series

Post by gyrehead » Tue January 6th, 2009, 9:40 pm

Anyone watching it? Last night they had two episodes on and while it had some flaws, it was really rather well done. And the cinematography is stunning. Managing to capture the richness and exotic depth that Inida has always held for me.

My only two complaints are this (I'm never 100 % satisfied!):

1.They use films to convey historical scenes. The reason I do not like this is because not only are many of the films rather weak and don't even have a true historical atmosphere but the show also seems to dub these movies with a sense that they were accurate. The glitz and glitter of Bollywood and Hollywood really drags down what is otherwise a wonderful effort. I'm not sure if it was a deliberate pop culture approach to bring in a new audience or whether it was a means to cut production costs. Either way, it just seems a little odd.

2.The approach of periodization. On one hand I really like it. But on the other hand it has Michael Grant going all over the place rather willy-nilly. He ends up backtracking in history at one point and I felt the first episode could have been more coherent and much more interesting had he decided to start at a certain point and work his way into modern India as it were.

A couple of things I did find interesting was the Aryan history which suggests that there was a common racial ancestry that start in Asia Minor and spread out into the Balkan peninsula and then up through Scythia and back down into what became Persia and the Indus valley. It could explain why racial divides weren't as great as they became in the post-classical period.

Anyway if you haven't seen it I highly suggest it if India is of any interest.

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Post by Ariadne » Wed January 7th, 2009, 1:47 am

I just watched the first episode from DVR and enjoyed it, though I agree the injection of Bollywood movies into a historical documentary was jarring. I remember similar documentaries using actors to re-enact historical scenes instead, though I'm not sure if any of Michael Wood's previous series have done so. (Been a while since I've seen any.)

Having finished a historical fantasy novel set in Mohenjo-daro not long ago (Eileen Kernaghan's Winter on the Plain of Ghosts), I was especially interested in the sections dealing with the Indus Valley civilizations. I wish he'd gone into more detail on the archaeological finds there - the photos I've seen online are very impressive - but that's a small complaint.

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