I somehow missed out on discovering the newest PBS documentary, The Pilgrims by Ric Burns. I had the opportunity to watch it this week via online viewing and it is outstanding. This is definitely not the mythical version of the Pilgrims, but instead is a very fact driven account of what took place in the early 17th century. Gone are the trappings of the sanitized accounts of their early years. Instead, historians deliver the unvarnished reality the Pilgrims were forced to endure and the choices they made to ensure their own survival.
PBS The Pilgrims
Ric Burns is the younger brother of Ken Burns. Both worked on The Civil War together. In addition to his collaborations with Ken, Ric has made several documentaries with the most well known being New York: A Documentary Film. That is one I am going to have to go watch. The Pilgrims is narrated by Oliver Platt and features Roger Rees in his last role as William Bradford. Rees is simply amazing to watch as he channels the character of Bradford merely by standing still. Bradford was a complex man for his day and Rees brings that out in every scene.
Additional commentators include Nathaniel Philbrick, Bernard Bailyn, Susan Hardman Moore, Pauline Croft, Nick Bunker, Sue Allen, Jill Lepore, John Demos, Kathleen Donegan, Linda Combs, Tobias Vanderhoop, Margaret Bruchae, and Michael Braddick. The senior historical advisor was Nick Bunker. Historical consultants included Virginia Anderson, Jeremy Bangs, Michael Braddick, Colin Calloway, Pauline Croft, John Demos, Jill Lepore, and Richard Pickering. I loved watching Bernard Baily get animated on certain parts of the narrative. The man is over 90 and still shows his great love of history!
I strongly suggest you take a look at this film. I will definitely be culling parts for my class as well as picking up the film itself for my library.