Washington (History Channel)

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: Eh, it’s fine.

Quick synopsis: The life of George Washington, mostly focused on his British and American military careers and the presidency.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: George Washington’s teeth were not made of wood. They were made of ivory and other people’s teeth (slaves mostly).

Fun Fact for History Nerds: Thomas Paine was a jerk. He was constantly complaining about everything and everyone including saying Washington had no integrity by the time he left the presidency. To say those words aged badly would be an understatement.

My Take: I mean, this is fine.

The miniseries is part reenactment and part talking heads. You have very famous historians talking about the major events in Washington’s life interspersed with actors playing out those events. My major problem with this arrangement is that the historians get to narrate these powerful anecdotes while the actors usually get very dense and overwrought dialogue right after. Since you are shortening the time you have for the reenactments then they come off very simple to the point of uselessness. The visuals can be striking but it doesn’t make up for how clunky it all feels.

If you read Ron Chernow’s book, then you will get way more than this miniseries will give you and will get a much better understanding of Washington and everyone else in his life. This seems like a severe distillation. If you are unfamiliar with all of this then it will be fine. Otherwise, eh.

Verdict: If you don’t know Washington all that well then it will be enlightening. If you read anything on him then there isn’t much here for you. Go to Mount Vernon instead.  

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Washington (History Channel)
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