I’ve given myself the challenge to log and write about every think I watch for the next year. That’s every television show, documentary, science fiction film, teaching video, and, well, movie. It doesn’t sound like much on the surface, but rather think it’ll be quite the challenge. I’m curious myself to tally up the total volume of things that I watch over a year. And thinking back on this last weekend provides an interesting foreshadowing of things to come:
BBC, 8 episodes, total run time: 8 hours. A historical documentary series that follows three people(a historian and two archaeologists) who try to “live the life” of farmers in World War II England. I thought of my dad the entire time I was watching this. Not because Dad was ever a farmer, but we both share an interest in technology and machinery and, well, ingenuity. My grandparents grew up during the Depression and Grandpa served in WWI, so Dad’s picked up the mix of Yankee ingenuity and PA Dutch “Do, Make Do, or Do Without” thinking.
They explore how the farmers of England were asked to provide more food to their island nation. They faced rationing, government planned planting, relocated city civilians, a sharp drop in gasoline supply, a nationwide cull of tens of thousands of livestock which could no longer be supported, a labor shortage, and shortages of nearly everything. The British people pulled together to farm more land than has ever been farmed in the history of their country(even to today) producing more food than has ever been produced in the history of their country(even to today). And for the civilian population the war went on longer than VE and VJ day. They had to maintain their high output and rationing as the UK helped to get the shatter nations of continental Europe back on their feet following the war. Check out episode one of this interesting series here: Wartime Farm.
Scottish TV and ITV, Season 1, 6 1-hour episodes- Based on a classic series of books, the eponymous character is a physician recently returned from overseas service during World War II to reestablish himself in the fictional Scottish town of Tannochbrae. There is medicine, jealousy, professional disagreements, the continued rationing, POW’s and ex-POWs, amputees and even a little love. This series was broadcast in 1993 although it feels older. Perhaps that can be attributed to quality work in creating the setting. Some of the episodes plots and subplots are quite good and move things along quite briskly, but others are so predictable that if given the opening line most television viewers could finish the plot easily. “A woman feels put off by her husband. The spark is gone. Doctor Finlay pays her a visit to see what ails her…” Well, this is going to end in tears.
This character began life in a series of novels, then was given the BBC treatment in Doctor Finlay’s Casebook from 1962-1971, and then in a radio drama that ran 1970-78.
Check it out for yourself here: Doctor Finlay.
Caveats to the Challenge:
Now there are some things which my challenge will not include. It does not include: commercials, news, reality television(not that I watch much of that), and sports.
My challenge will kick off on Christmas Day.