/ TV documentaries that don't dumb down?

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The Lemming - on 04 Mar 2013
Anybody able to recommend any TV documentaries that I can hunt out and watch?

Nothing dumbed down but nothing that needs a doctorate to even get beyond the titles.

Cheers

Thoroughly enjoyed the various Wonders of:

Life
Solar System
Blue Straggler - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

These are not TV documentaries, they are "feature" documentaries that played in cinemas:

Into the Abyss. Werner Herzog interviews various people involved in and affected by a triple homicide; the whole film serves as more general study of capital punishment. It is objective and non-judgemental - i.e. the film maker does not let his own opinions come through. It is stunning - some parts are very moving. Some are almost hilarious too.

Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World and Lessons of Darkness are other great docs from Herzog. He is German but these are all in English.
Steph-in-the-West on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Horizon series - any subject - is usually very good
Jon Stewart - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Adam Curtis' documentaries are remarkable.

The last I saw was "All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace" about computers and stuff and was superb, as is "The Power of Nightmares" (about Al Quaida and stuff) and "The Century of the Self" (about pyschology, advertising and stuff).

Don't expect a normal documentary, but do expect something fascinating and brilliant.
Baron Weasel - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming: Lost kingdoms of south America - was on bbciplayer recently. No speculation presented as fact - really good and refreshing as well as interesting.

BW
Postmanpat on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Ken Burns documentary on the American civil war is the best documentary on anything by anyone ever.

His documentary "Jazz-the story of American music" was also very good.
Jim at Work on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
Interesting (having seen 'Lincoln') - how would one find this?
Jim at Work on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
what was this on (Beeb2?)
Mike Mead - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

The Shock of the New didn't appear dumbed down to me, but IANAAH.
Postmanpat on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Jim at Work:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> Interesting (having seen 'Lincoln') - how would one find this?

I've never found it "free" on the internet. You tube had it removed so I think I tunes or Amazon are the only options. It's 9 episodes.

This is the introduction http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN2huQB-DmE

This is a bit on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCXUbQ4JjXI on the Gettysburg address.

There are no actors dressed up in uniforms pretending to be vast armies etc. Burns simply uses contemporary photos, documents, a narrative voiceover and leading historians to analyse. Shelby Foote (the bearded guy in the Gettysburg clip above) is a magnificent raconteur around who the whole thing revolves. Documents are often letters tracking soldiers, the great and the humble, from their ordinary roots through the grim years of war to their deaths or return home.
It's fun recognising the actors doing voiceovers for the letters: "shit, that's Al pacino...Morgan Freeman.." or whoever.



sg - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> Adam Curtis' documentaries are remarkable.
>
agreed - I'm not always convinced by the lines of argument which often aren't particularly clear and wander to suit the various points he wants to make, but they're generally fairly captivating.
Jon Stewart - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to sg:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
> agreed - I'm not always convinced by the lines of argument which often aren't particularly clear and wander to suit the various points he wants to make, but they're generally fairly captivating.

Mr Curtis has a habit of expressing his view of the world in a voice-over with a deeply authoritative tone, making it sound a bit like fact until you digest what he's actually saying.
Liam M - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming: I've found Howard Goodall's Story of Music that has been playing recently very good. He seems both technically knowledgeable and thoroughly interested in his subject matter. It may still be on iPlayer.
nawface - on 06 Mar 2013
The Lemming - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to nawface:

That made my brain hurt. :(

I don't know who to believe any more.
a lakeland climber on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

The classic documentary series is "The World at War", possibly as authorative as TV gets.

Civilisation
The Ascent of Man

I find modern Horizon programmes to be dumbed down compared to those of the 1970s but it may be that I'm brighter! (or have rose tinted glasses)

ALC
pasbury on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Any Jonathan Meades series is well worth it - on culture & architecture rather than science. His take on mundane subjects is refreshing and often quite funny. Plus he's a master of the incongruous - e.g. doing a piece to camera while smoking a fag, dressed in a long black greatcoat while walking along a hot Mediteranean beach.
Jon Stewart - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to nawface:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1bX3F7uTrg

That is fantastic!
Ramblin dave - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to pasbury:
> (In reply to The Lemming)
>
> Any Jonathan Meades series is well worth it - on culture & architecture rather than science. His take on mundane subjects is refreshing and often quite funny. Plus he's a master of the incongruous - e.g. doing a piece to camera while smoking a fag, dressed in a long black greatcoat while walking along a hot Mediteranean beach.

Yes. You have to watch it a bit with him, particularly regarding history and politics, but the fact that he's inspired me to go off and read up on a subject so that I can find out enough about it to disagree with him properly isn't something I'd say about many documentarists.
Dauphin - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to pasbury:

Thanks for reminding me about Meades. Funny bloke. Is he still alive?

D

ads.ukclimbing.com
pasbury on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Dauphin:

Yep, just done another documentary for BBC4 'The Joy of Essex'. Not seen it unfortunately.

There was a time when he appeared doomed by his lifestyle but he lost 1/3rd his bodyweight after giving up the Times food correspondent junket.
deepsoup - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Dauphin:
I really liked Meades on Donald Trump:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evCvKbn0NWU
Deviant - on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Try here :

http://thebox.bz/login.php

An amazing quantity of quality TV, plus loads of s*ite, too!

I'm not sure what the current sign-up situation is, but it is well worth joining if you can. There are an enormous amount of torrents on free-leech.

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