Recently I have been had the pleasure of watching A History of Britain. What I like about this 15 part series are the narratives of each episode which set out to tell a story and the language with which it is presented. Perhaps it is because it is a BBC production the narrator was allowed to use more advanced language then is often found in North American documentaries. I certainly find the episodes filled with information and witty commentary. I also appreciate it the way the series moves from the very earliest times of the Roman invasions to modern, post-world war II. My largest criticism is the shortness of time spent on the very earlier periods. Though I understand the reasons, the time constraints, I would like more information for these early years. I would love more details about the way people had lived their lives during the various periods of time. However, no series can include everything in a manageable amount of time.
In contrast to the linear production of A History of Britain, Mankind: The Story of All of Us is disappointingly jumbled. Each episode is a haphazard collection of moments that seem unrelated by theme or time. This recent documentary, of which I confess I have only watched two episodes, is difficult to follow and seems to say very little. It held such promise for me, tackling the world and not just one nation. But the presentation of its story, sloppy, disjointed and difficult to follow, does little to engage my attention. For this I am deeply disappointed.
I would love to watch a series, and I am happy to watch a lengthy series too, that covers history of mankind from our earliest records. I think it would be hugely interesting to look at pivotal periods of time and investigate not only what is happening in one corner of the world, but how contemporaries worldwide are living. So often, I pick up bits of history in isolation and certainly my history is heavily focused on Europe. Yet, China has an equally long and complex story to share with the world. It has influenced Europe over the ages. I would love to know what was happening in that distant land at the same time various acts are playing out on the European continent.
While they may not have yet produced the documentary I truly wish to watch and while the library may not have every interesting historic show in its collection, I have found a website full of promising titles that will allow me to continue my historic studies in pieces.