Throughout the week I certainly learned a lot. For example, I didn't realize the immense role that Horace Albright played in the formation of the modern National Park Service, as well as the acquisition of new parks during his tenure.
I also thought Mr. Burns did a fairly decent job with his overview of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Thomas Moran: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Having said all that, I do have a couple of nitpicking criticisms.
1) I thought Burns spent a disproportionate amount of time on Yosemite. I agree that Yosemite is stunningly beautiful and probably deserves more time than the average park, but it came at the cost of glossing over other major parks, namely Olympic, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Burns favoritism for Yosemite reminded me of the way he overwhelmingly favored the New York Yankees in his otherwise excellent Baseball film. As a Cincinnati Reds fan it was just a little too much!
2) One other criticism, albeit small, is that I wish that PBS didn't have to run two-hour broadcasts of the film on six consecutive days. Towards the end of the week it started to feel like I was taking part in a marathon. I wish they would stagger programs like this across two or three weeks. Maybe do four three-hour segments over the course of two weeks, with a five minute intermission at the half-way point on each night.
Despite these, I do think that the film will result in a fairly major spike in national parks visitation next year. I'm certainly even more inspired now to visit many of the parks that have been on my list for some time.
What do you guys think? Did you like the film? Did you learn anything compelling? Do you think the Smokies were treated fairly?
If you're wishing to add to the film experience, below is the companion book (42% off) and the DVD (30% off) from Amazon:
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.