Ken Burns Latest a Walk in the Park

The last CHML TV Talk Radio Chat of the month focuses in on a TV event completely overlooked here up until now: Ken Burns’ documentary series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The six-part, 12-hour series resumes tonight at 8/7c on your local PBS affiliate with “Going Home” (1920-33). The series runs until Oct. 2.
Burns is his own best salesman and was his usual articulate self at the most recent press tour in Los Angeles. His passion for the great parks of America, like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, have stayed with him since boyhood.
Still, a 12 hour documentary on parks?! The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz and Burns’ great documentary series on WWII were all engrossing, exceptional, and really, really long. You’ll find that if you check out The National Parks, you’ll get hooked for more minutes than you expect. But not for 12 damn hours. If you have 12 hours, get the hell away from the damn TV and go outside to a real park!
Besides, his premise that governments seizing large tracts of the great outdoors for the enjoyment of future generations wasn’t really just America’s big idea. Even in North America, national parks were chartered in Canada before they were ever established in the States.
Beyond Parks, Burns told critics on press tour that he plans to add a 10th “inning” to his epic Baseball documentary. The original version ended with a Canadian team–the Toronto Blue Jays–winning back-to-back World Series in 1992-93. Burns says that was fitting at the time, showing the game hat hit beyond America’s borders, but so much has happened since–including strikes, steroid abuse and the end of the curse of the Bambino (allowing his favourite team, the Boston Red Sox, to finally win)–that he wanted to bring the series up to date.
CHML’s Scott Thompson also asks about Battle of the Blades (launching this Sunday at 8), the highly-rated return of the Rick Mercer Report, Kelsey Grammer’s latest and leastest sitcom, Hank (he plays a downsized CEO), and word that Jason Priestley is coming back to Canada to shoot an edgy new series for The Movie Network-Movie Central. You can listen in here.
PREMIERING TONIGHT: A new season of Dragon`s Den (8 p.m., CBC), Hank (8 p.m., ABC and City), Patricia Heaton`s middling new sitcom The Middle (ABC and City) and the return of those wife-choppin` Tudors (9 p.m., CBC).

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