History Channel // 2005 // 407 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 19th, 2012
The lives and legacies of the leaders of the United States.
History Channel's eight-part series takes a look at every U.S President up to George W. Bush. Spread over three discs, the series carves up sections of American history, capturing several Presidents at a time. Starting in 1789 with George Washington and culminating with W, the The Presidents provides a condensed, super-shot of White House history and compendium of US historical events.
Each episode follows the standard-issue History Channel gameplan, blending photos and video footage with commentary from researchers, academics, and celebrity guests like Walter Cronkite (yes this production is a few years old), David Brinkley, Wesley Clark, and President Jimmy Carter. Not a whole lot of hardcore conservative types show up for interviews, but this isn't a highly-politicized experience (though Reagan tends to be the recipient of a copious amount of backhanded compliments).
Each President is introduced with a fact-laden baseball card that lists trivia and party affiliation. I found the material further removed from present day to be more interesting and less political. I've pretty much had my fill of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Iran hostage crisis, so getting some details on John Quincy Adams and Franklin Pierce (way to represent New Hampshire, you clown) is appreciated.
Overall, The Presidents is a well-produced collection. It comes across as a bit dated, which is surprising since was produced only a few years ago. I blame the technical treatment, a no-frills delivery soaked in mediocrity: standard definition full frame and Dolby 2.0 stereo, both of which offer little pop. Extras are more robust, featuring the Barack Obama Biography episode, a Presidents' timeline, and a feature-length documentary looking at the various First Ladies.
If judged on the sheer volume of info transmitted? Not Guilty! The A/V?
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Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 407 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes
* The White House