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By Sean Graham
Like a lot of people, I used the break over the holidays to catch up on a couple of TV shows and movies that I had missed through the fall. I have to say that binge watching, while a lot of fun, can actually be difficult – it’s easy to lose track of where one thing starts and another one ends, you remember the over-arching themes but forget a lot of the specifics, and there is a tendency to lose track of time and then suddenly realize it’s 3AM and you have to leave for the airport in two hours.
What was fun about it though, was that there were several historical dramas to catch up with. I don’t know if there is a resurgence in the ‘historical drama,’ but I’ve definitely noticed over the past couple of years that more and more shows and movies are set in the past and revolve around historical issues. Add the fact that people like Doris Kearns Goodwin are being called in as consultants on a lot of these projects, and they can be both informative and entertaining.
In this episode of the History Slam we review three of these new dramas. First, I talk about Downton Abbey with Megan Sanderson, the biggest fan of the show who I know. Then I chat with my brother Scott about Titanic: Blood and Steel, the 12-part miniseries that the CBC aired in the fall. We end with the instant analysis (we recorded right after the movie) of Lincoln with Dave Hyde.
Spoiler Alert – while we don’t spoil anything from Season 3 of Downton Abbey, we do talk at length about the end of Titanic: Blood and Steel and a little bit about the end of Lincoln. Of course in both cases the endings are probably pretty obvious.
Sean Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa where he is currently working on a project that examines the early years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has previously studied at Nipissing University, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Regina and like any red-blooded Canadian his ultimate dream is to be a curling champion while living on a diet of beer and poutine.
Oh dear oh dear. If you want to intelligently discuss the Titanic mini-series, you need to be a bit serious about reading some actual northern Irish history.
BTW – as an historian with a minor interest in Irish history (as well as some Irish ancestry), I found the series unwatchable.