Big, Bigger, Biggest

I’ve really been enjoying the TV series “Big, Bigger, Biggest” that’s been running on SBS on Saturday nights. It’s the almost perfect mix of engineering, history and gee-whizzery that manages to avoid the common pitfalls* of so many other documentaries of this genre. Tonight … Dams!

*Some of the pitfalls it avoids are:

  • overblown hyperbole from an over-earnest narrator
  • “our audience is so dumb we can only use words of one syllable or less”
  • “let’s worm our way around explaining a difficult concept by getting a celebrity host to perform some gimmicky and barely relevant ‘experiment’ “
  •  “let’s make up for our lack of footage by showing the same clip over and over again”
  • “let’s make easy money by padding out half an hour of content with endless repetition so that the show can be sold as a one hour documentary.
  • using computer animation that looks pretty, but does nothing to actually inform or explain.

[This content was originally posted to Google Buzz, #94]

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