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The Men Who Built America: Season 1 (2012)
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The material is there for an intriguing show about how big business worked in a very different era. Unfortunately, that history is presented in just about the dullest way possible; the reenactments are very corny and the narration falls flat.
The stories of America's great 19th- and early 20th-century capitalists have rarely been told better than they are in this eight-hour History series.
How can a documentary on robber barons be so bland? Watch this to find out.
The history is dished out at a junior high level, but when you're pitting cherries that's the way you want it. At some point it hit me. This was American history as Game of Thrones. Vanderbilt et al are stamped from the die of Tywin Lannister.
There is a story to be told about the building of America, and possibly even more than one serialized drama. The Men Who Built America isn't that, its hybridization of documentary filmmaking and reenactment coming up short on both counts.
Eight hours is a hefty commitment to ask viewers to spend... Especially when the docudrama series' ostentatious style begins to grate within the first 30 minutes.
It's a reminder that most of the things that directly shape our personal lives -- the jobs, the goods, the utilities, even the pollution -- are created and controlled by people who never stand for election.
At its worse, the production slips into heavy-handedness, with over-dramatic writing and self-serious performances, lending this particularly fascinating period of American history all the gravitas of a daytime soap opera.
Despite the fact that women and individuals from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds are missing from series' conversations, there is still a lot to be learned here.
It's a fairly decent mix with the dramatic scenes looking authentic enough but the production does its credibility no favor when blowhard publicity hound Donald Trump shows up to comment.
Audience Reviews for The Men Who Built America: Season 1
Sep 12, 2020Loved this. Make more just like it!