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  1. I don't really keep up with what's on TV anymore, but just happened to catch an ad for this special yesterday morning. Watched the two re-creations; didn't watch the discussion after. Overall, thought it was interesting, especially from the perspective of how much things have changed vs how much things haven't changed in our world since the two original series were on the air. Thought the actors were actually pretty brave to take on such iconic characters on such iconic shows, especially since viewers would always be comparing what happened last night to the originals. Was it a good idea? Who knows? It's done. Good experiment. Everyone did their best, with varying degrees of success. Wanda Sikes did a good job with Weezy, though the way she played the character was much different from how Isabel Sanford played the character; I did miss Isabel Sanford's deep, deep voice. Jamie Foxx was a little twitchy; liked how he acknowledged his mess-up--"it's live television!"--openly, while the rest of the cast tried to keep from cracking up. Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei had almost impossible tasks, I thought. Good effort, though. Norman Lear looked ancient. And sometimes seemed as if he was losing the thread of what he was trying to say.
  2. officetemp

    Falling Water

    Glad that this show is back. I'm confused, though. I thought that Woody had sacrificed himself during the dream confrontation with Bill in last season's finale in order that Tess and the boy could escape? More later when I've had time to digest. New actress playing Sabine!
  3. I think I may be more-or-less insane by saying this, but I'm kind of wishing that Burns and Novick & company had made an even longer film. Maybe even up to six hours longer. Both Episodes 8 and 9 felt somewhat rushed to me, in contrast to the more detailed documentation in the earlier episodes. I would have liked to have had more interviews with the Vietnamese soldiers--both South and North--and some of the South Vietnamese leadership and the Viet Cong. I know most of the people who were in power at the time (in the North and the South) are now dead, but I feel that discussing events during the "Vietnamization" process from the perspective of the Vietnamese, especially members of ARVN, would have been both informative and eye-opening. I also wish that the film makers had interviewed some of the National Guard troops and/or law enforcement personnel who were there that day at Kent State. What was going through their minds at the time? How did they deal with what they had done after it happened? What do they now think about their own actions on that day? The Wall: I've only visited it once, a few years after it was dedicated and I think prior to the installation of the accompanying sculptures (unnecessary, I thought, but installed to appease those who wanted a more traditional war memorial). I think what makes The Wall so powerfully effective is that it doesn't try to mold the visitor's opinion, as other memorials do. It's just a collection of names. But it's a collection of names of those who died and that's what makes it personal. Each individual who visits the wall knew somebody or several somebodies up there on the wall. Small wonder that it's turned into a de facto shrine, with people leaving letters, medals, photos, flowers and other offerings along the length of its base. I think I read a few years ago that the National Park Service is planning on opening a museum to house and display all those offerings that have been left at the wall since it was dedicated. The main takeaway, so far, that I've gotten from this documentary is that the failure of leadership has devastating consequences. From the presidents on down to whoever the genius was who decided it was fine to issue live ammunition to the NG and law enforcement at Kent State, there was such a massive lack of leadership, with politics determining policy. In this film, it seemed as if the persons demonstrating leadership at its finest were the geology professor at Kent State who begged everyone to disperse in order to avoid further bloodshed, the helicopter pilot who shielded and saved those villagers whom he could at My Lai, the soldiers who led some to safety in the same place, and the platoon and squad leaders out in the field who never demanded anything of the men under their command what they themselves would not be willing to honorably do. Emotionally drained, but looking forward to Episode 10.
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    People Of Earth

    Kurt, Jonathan and Jeff [awestruck]: "Whoa--Don's got Skills. . ." Cracked me up. Don's still pretty naive, though, even though he's got Ninja fighting skills. And now he's possessed by Eric the flying cube. There ain't no justice. So, is a kiss on the mouth from a loved one the cure-all for every ill in the People of Earth universe? Maybe Kelly can kiss Don on the mouth and that will cure him of the Eric possession. That's what I was wondering, too! I really like Agent Foster's sister. She's so serene and accepting of the circumstances of her life. And no psychological issues at all even though their Mom has basically been hiding from the Aliens ever since the twins were born. (Hoping she doesn't turn out to be some kind of psycho. . .) Still hoping that Ozzie will be resurrected. They still have his body on the ship, so it's always possible. Who'd be the one to kiss him, though? Why must we wait until 2018 to get a new season?!! Actually, I'd love it if they did a Christmas special.
  5. With the way the war was conducted on the US side, I really wonder if the senior leadership ever bothered to talk with any one below the battalion command level. The orders coming down to the companies, platoons and squads seemed consistently contradictory; a lot of the action described seemed as if everything was done for symbolism and for show, and not for tangible goals that would have actually led to some advantages in the field. Maddening. The reveal that most of the North Vietnamese leadership sent their children out of harm's way while urging the ordinary citizenry to commit everything to the "Revolution" should not have surprised me, but it did. The contrast in the images of the Party Elite offspring comfortably passing the time in Moscow, etc., while the ordinary North Vietnamese struggled to ferry supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail while under constant bombardment by US forces was so stark. Also, the decadence displayed by the South Vietnamese elite class demonstrated how little regard that class had for the ordinary citizenry in the South. Add to that behavior the widespread profiteering (by so many different parties), the breakdown of societal norms, the exploitation of the most vulnerable. So ugly. And in the meantime, the ordinary South Vietnamese citizenry were the ones making the most sacrifice and doing most of the dying. That photo of LBJ and Lady Bird lying in bed watching the Democratic Convention proceedings on TV was so odd, especially since Lynda Bird and Luci Baines were in the picture, too, along with staffers and presumably Secret Service agents. (And Lynda Bird in baby-doll pajamas, no less. . . ) Where did the film makers get that picture, I wonder? Had it been taken by the official White House photographer? Nixon. Jeez. I don't know why, but I felt incredibly happy and relieved when we found out that both the Viet Cong truck driver and her fiancé survived the war and were able to reunite and get married a few years later. I guess maybe it was because it was a small bright spot in an overwhelmingly bleak story.
  6. Episode 6 really illustrated how powerless the civilian population was during the war. The adversaries were determined to wipe each other out and the civilians were literally caught in the crossfire. The production team for this documentary seems to have taken great pains to paint a more complete picture of what happened during the war. The image of that VC operative being summarily executed on the street by the South Vietnamese police commander is what most of us think of when "Vietnam War" is mentioned. I never knew--before watching this film--about how the North Vietnamese Army/Viet Cong themselves carried out those purges of South Vietnamese "subversives" while they were conducting, and withdrawing from, the Tet Offensive. (Also, in one of the earlier episodes, it was mentioned that some of the Viet Cong had serious differences of opinion with the Hanoi government with regards to the conduct of the war in the south and that many of the North Vietnamese citizenry were also growing tired of the war. Always believed that the North Vietnamese side was pretty monolithic.) Bobby Kennedy's comments during his presidential campaign regarding the men making the decisions about the war seemed kind of ironic in that it had been mentioned in an earlier episode that LBJ had retained a great number of JFK's cabinet and staff for Johnson's own administration. The stories recounted by the former US military members seem so surreal. Unfortunately for them, the events weren't just some fiction; they actually happened.
  7. New Yorkers rioted in the streets when the Union started up the draft in 1863 during the Civil War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_draft_riots . [My comment's more or less off-topic, but oh, well.] Re: Field-stripping cigarettes--we were taught how to do that in Basic Training--I didn't smoke--so it surprised me that the troops just dropped their butts on the ground while out on a mission. Maybe, by that time, they figured it wouldn't make much difference, anyway?
  8. I think another complicating factor was that Vietnam's colonial overlords were the French, who've been the US's allies since the American Revolutionary War. Re: "Bottom of the barrel"--I've usually heard that phrase used in a derogatory sense to describe the very dregs of society. Unproductive, of unsound character, criminal, even. I would think a more neutral description would be "on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder" in American society. Working class or lower, but still with a lot of pride and self-respect and with a desire to support themselves and their families and to make positive contributions to American society in general. I think tonight's episode highlighted that one of the greatest tragedies of the Vietnam War is how it stripped the men who actually engaged in combat of their humanity. Or forced them to give up their humanity in order to survive. Turned decent people into monsters. (And only 20% of the personnel were actually in combat? The rest in support?!) So ludicrous to see Gen Westmoreland--who spent as much time in Washington, DC as he did in Theater, it seems--in his starched fatigues and presumably spit-shined boots, compared to the guys out in the field on the combat missions. So clueless. [By the way, was that Alexander Haig in one of those still photos with Westmoreland?]
  9. I wasn't talking to the TV last night, but, as the episode went on, I just kept wondering how many of those young faces that we saw actually survived the war. Every time news network and/or military video footage was shown, or still pictures, I'd catch myself thinking, "Well, did they survive or was this taken just a few minutes before they were killed? Did this guy make it to the next battle? Did that one ever make it home?" I was concerned, too, since the film makers didn't blank out the faces of the troops in the videos/photos, that a viewer--or many viewers--somewhere would see the image of a loved one or loved ones who never came back. How painful would that be? (Especially since it could be argued that the ordinary service members were so betrayed by the leadership higher-ups.) Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and their production team must have waded through tens of thousands of hours of film and looked through millions of still photos to put this documentary together. Plus having to listen to all of those tapes from the various presidential administrations. Great job. Gut-wrenching subject matter.
  10. Absolutely flabbergasted by how pretty much all of the members of the Johnson administration knew and/or believed that no good outcome for the Vietnam War was ever going to be possible and they went ahead and did what they did anyway! In secret! Then LIED over and over again about it. Bunch of chickens with their heads cut off just running around in circles caroming off the sides of the chicken coop. They couldn't even define what the objective of the operation was beyond the vague statement, "stopping the spread of communism." Didn't realize that Ho Chi Minh had all but been pushed aside by the time the US had gotten involved in the conflict. He really was marginalized by the more aggressive members of the North Vietnamese leadership. I think he also felt compelled to carry out the Kennedy legacy, part of which was Vietnam, because of the way JFK's life was cut short so suddenly.
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    People Of Earth

    Last night's episode seemed almost like a placeholder episode. Not much going on at all. And next week is the season finale?! [Boo, hiss. . .] Wyatt Cenac's name was in the opening credits again last night. I'm hoping that's a good sign. Please bring him back to life! Yeah, the missing characters are starting to bother me, too. And where have Nancy and Doug and Officer Glimmer been?
  12. That's one of things that struck me in last night's episode: McNamara seemed to treat the whole conflict as some type of hypothetical intellectual exercise; "if we just get all the numbers right, then victory is ours." No thought for any of the people, whatever side those people were on, who were actually, physically invested in the conflict. I think one of the best aspects of this series is that it clarifies and emphasizes how complex the whole Vietnam war actually was. So many different factions, so many different ideals, so many different motives. And, no matter how noble a motive may be to start with, reality sets in so quickly and people just end up doing what they think it's going to take to make things turn out the way they want it to turn out, nobility of spirit be damned. And if there was no nobility of spirit to start with, then the result is the South Vietnamese president, his brother and sister-in-law (horrible woman!). The ordinary citizens of Vietnam went through so much suffering and all in the name of "saving the country!" I'm wondering how much the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion influenced JFK's decision to continue with the Vietnam operation. If Bay of Pigs had been a success, would it have motivated him to just withdraw from Vietnam, or would such a success have been even more reason for him to rationalize that the US needed to stay in Vietnam? Was shocked how the number of military advisers during the first year of his administration ballooned from around 600 to over 11,000. I was born in 1956, same as kassygreene. I can't remember any time during my growing up years when Vietnam was not lurking in the background of everything else that was going on during the 1960s. Ken Burns and his production staff are so skilled at picking out music for all of their series. Sam Cooke's song, "Mean Old World," which was played during the closing credits of last night's episode, was so plaintive, especially in the context of the events we viewers know will follow in the next episodes and what the participants, at that point in time in history, had no idea were approaching. Enough to make you weep.
  13. So glad that this thread was started. Ken Burns is an extraordinary documentary film maker. The historical background of the conflict is fascinating and disheartening at the same time. So many crucial moments where, if decisions had been made differently, the orientation/political makeup of the whole Southeast Asian region would have been radically different today. I found the behavior of the French at times so inexplicable. Also, I never knew before watching this film that the French government in Vietnam had collaborated with the Japanese invaders during WWII. So much brutality on all sides; frightening and discouraging how much the American experiences in the 1960s and 1970s paralleled the French experiences in the 1940s and 1950s. "Deja vu" is such an appropriate title for this episode! I think it would be interesting if PBS could rebroadcast the complete earlier series--Vietnam: A Television History--in order for viewers to compare how the thinking regarding the whole conflict has changed and/or remained the same. I joined the Army right out of high school in 1974, so the war was winding down just as I entered the service and not many people were being posted to Vietnam by then. Saigon fell the next spring while I was still in my specialty school. The veterans whom I met that were still in the service while I was in the Army were totally demoralized by the whole experience in Vietnam. They referred to the North Vietnamese forces against whom they had fought as "Sir Charles."
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    S04.E04: Harvest

    Just glad that Thursday survived all the "the journey ends in death" predictions. I would have been really upset if Thursday had somehow come to harm (again!!). We'd already seen that Joan's married lover had no trouble with physical violence: ie, the bruise on her cheek (and Morse demanding, "Where is he?!") If she didn't deliberately throw herself down the steps, I would have no problem in believing that her lover had beat her up and caused her to fall. I don't think that Morse is really in love with Joan. I get the feeling that he was/is infatuated with the idea of "being in love with" her or with them "being in love with each other." And that the infatuation was born at the moment when she said she was leaving and, therefore, for all intents and purposes, made herself unattainable by him and, at the same time, an object of romantic devotion. As others have already said, I had no sympathy at all for the so-called victim in this particular murder. He seemed pretty nasty and I felt sorry for the shepherd and his dog. (Was the shepherd the tarot reader's son or nephew?)
  15. officetemp

    People Of Earth

    Hard to say. I thought I saw Wyatt Cenac's name in the credits at the beginning of the episode, but I could have been imagining things. Yes, Chelsea did enjoy her encounter with Don. She even was jealous of Kelly when they realized that the same alien had visited them both. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if having sex with Don was Chelsea's idea originally, because he seems to be rather easily led into doing things. I didn't like the [Ex-Father]Doug and Chelsea story line and I still don't. However, I'm glad that Doug insisted that "We do this the right way" with him leaving the priesthood and Chelsea leaving her husband. To proceed with the relationship doing anything other than severing their previous attachments would have been unseemly, I think. But, I hate that the show has introduced a pregnancy story line, never mind that it may be an alien/human hybrid offspring. I thoroughly dislike pregnancy story lines, because the plot device seems like lazy writing to me and it always seems to send whatever show on which it appears completely off the rails [I'm looking at You, Grimm!]. And the kid either ends up taking over the show completely, or you never see the kid again after it's born. As to the reasoning behind Ozzie's presumed death: Re: Agent Foster--I agree that she may have more than one sibling. Jeff said that her mother was "full of babies." He didn't say how many babies. Also, I kind of thought that the co-worker who helped her get the evidence file--and seemed to be sweet on her--may turn out to be her biological brother. The turn toward the dark side that this show has made is making me uneasy. Ozzie's death, Jonathan's murder of the Reptilian assassin, the hints that Eric the Floating Cube's corporation may have inflicted genocide on The Greys is worrying to me. I still find a lot to like about this show, but it seems to be getting way too serious for a presumed comedy. Yvonne and Gerry are a cute couple and I loved that they bought those t-shirts at the convention. Why did StarCrossed charter such a huge bus to go to the convention?!!