Like everyone else, I'm looking forward to the end of summer reruns, and for the new fall season to kick off over the next several weeks. In addition to returning shows and new offerings from the networks and studios, I'm also quite interested in Ken Burns' new documentary for PBS, The War, which debuts on September 23 at 8:00 p.m. and is scheduled to air in seven parts. Check your listings for airtimes in your area.
I've been drawn to the idea of a lengthy documentary about World War II partially for the historical aspect, but moreso because of the human aspect. Growing up, my exposure to that era was through films featuring rugged heroes and clean, bloodless battles. Combine this with the solipsism inherent in all young people, and the result is a skewed --if not completely false-- perspective on what it was really like to be alive during that era, not only for the soldiers on the battlefields overseas, but also for the people back home.
Expect to see nothing but Iraq war films, miniseries and television shows coming out of Hollywood over the next couple of years. Enough time has passed since the war's inception to see all manner of first person narratives and analysis published and snapped up by production companies. What distinguishes Generation Kill is its look at the war's earliest days, the specificity with which it addresses military bueracracy and its characterization of today's soliders. They are not their WWII and Vietnam counterparts. As Wright described them, Marines are "on more intimate terms with videogames, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents." Different generation. Different war.
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