In the new issue of TV Guide, TV critic Matt Roush touted an “array of new documentary series and specials,” including “strong installments” on the leftist PBS shows Frontline and Independent Lens.
But underneath came his withering review of the new Showtime series Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States. “Audit this class and you’ll want to play hooky,” he wrote:
Oliver Stone’s anti-imperialist screed, which extends from World War II to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, could have been a provocatively contrarian study of U.S. foreign, military, and nuclear policy. To bad it’s such lousy TV, delivered in such a droning one-sided lecture in 10 weekly sermons, with cheesy use of archival footage and movie clips (including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) in the opening chapters. Audit this class and you’ll want to play hooky.
My grade: 20 (out of 100)
Right next door to this takedown, Roush gave the new Ken Burns documentary on PBS -- The Dust Bowl -- a 100 out of 100. He "leaves most of his contemporaries in the dust," Roush boasted.