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October 13, 2015

Exclusive DVD clip from The National Parks: America's Best Idea

by Jane Boursaw, posted Oct 7th 2009 2:29PM
Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Best IdeaIf you haven't checked out Ken Burns' documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea on PBS yet, now you can actually buy it. The 12-hour series hit DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 6, and offers a stunning look at our national parks, including Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, and the Gates of Arctic in Alaska.

When you think about it, it's truly amazing how these natural wonders have become part of our lives, even if we've never been to them. Burns covers 150 years of the parks, starting with the concept in the mid-1800s and featuring the voices of Tom Hanks, Andy Garcia, Sam Waterston and others.

The cool thing about the DVD / Blu-ray sets is that you get three hours of bonus material, including a making-of featurette, Musical Journeys Through the National Parks, Contemporary Stories and Outtakes.

I swear Ken Burns isn't paying me to gush about the series. They sent me a review copy, and it's downright awesome and great family viewing, too. It makes me want to go on a cross-country journey and check out all the parks for myself.

Check out this bonus DVD clip, offered exclusively to TV Squad readers:

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It's the usual Burns historical approach to a topic with much effort to make it relateable with a down-to-earth focus on people. This was probably his most difficult subject to cover in that way and I feel that it falls a bit short. It's simply way too long. There was too much time that felt like a drag. It sometimes dwells on unimportant, uncompelling, and/or redundant details rather than moving the narrative along. The subject matter just doesn't offer enough to support the same leisurely pace as others such as baseball or the wars.

The history is certainly more interesting that I expected, but could have easily worked at half the length. It is also pretty light on the historical context behind the changes in attitude toward nature that occurred in America. Instead, it is painted more as a struggle between naturalists behind a flag of "democracy" and capitalism (greed). There's much more to it.

October 08 2009 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't care much for this series. I mean, the history and such of them all is interesting but I was expecting more actual footage of the parks themselves. They went on and on about before the series came out how they went from park to park filming, but from what it looked like to me is that all the imagery was just historical.

It just wasn't at all what I was expecting, which made it kind of a letdown.

October 07 2009 at 4:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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