The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

As my earlier post about Hitler passes into the archive section, it occurred to me that I never mentioned what I thought of the CBS miniseries. The short and sweet:

My expectations were low going into it, and I'd have to say there were well-met. It was only OK. I don't know what it is about mainstream TV that can't produce notable entertainment programming (too much groupthink, maybe?), but it's pretty obvious that something with the potential scope of Hitler's rise to power is too complex for a network miniseries. Still, they had four damn hours to work with, and they still couldn't pull off anything more than an extremely average effort.

It wasn't totally terrible. The machinations and intrigue during the Beer Hall Putsch were depicted pretty well, as were the events leading up to Hitler's appointment as Chancellor. The performances were at least decent.

But overall... The opening sequences of Hitler's childhood were hamhandedly butchered. The actor playing the adult Hitler didn't have blue eyes--which, next to his moustache, was probably his most distincitive characteristic (they couldn't have given him blue contact lenses, or digitally changed the color afterward?). The panic environment that led to Hitler's rapid rise (i.e., the Depression) wasn't established very well at all.

I could go on. Basically, it was a big to-do over a not-very-noteworthy work. Such is network fare, and a big reason why I never watch the stuff.

Also, a quick note on the ads during the broadcast: Stinko! How many times could they show that no-budget "Swingin' to the '50" CD set commercial? I swear, at times I wondered if I wasn't watching some nondescript cable channel. I guess the ads were targeting the expected senior demographic that would be attracted to historical drama, but still, the commercials were pretty cut-rate. I guess this is the current state of network TV. The big ad budget/efforts go to more narrowly-defined cable channels.