Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The American Revolution, pts 2 & 3
Murphy was the original American Sniper. With his grooved rifle, Murphy
singled-handedly turned the tide of the Battle of Saratoga and pretty much the
entire war along with it. He is exactly the sort of scrappy unassuming hero
that continue to get their due in the second and third installments of American
Heroes Channel’s three-part The American Revolution (promo
continues right after Monday night’s’ premiere with The Empire Fights Back.
the Revolutionary War never looked good for the Patriots until they finally won
it outright. Things looked particularly grim when George Washington’s
Continental Army was stranded in Brooklyn. That was bad news even in late
August 1776, especially with the Redcoats advancing from Long Island and the
British Navy hastening to cut-off the East River. It would be Joe Pesci-esque
Col. John Glover who organized their daring retreat, allowing them to fight
Glover is definitely the ranking hero of Empire,
the second and third episodes spread the overdue ovations around a bit more
than the Joseph Warren-centric Rise of Patriots. In the two succeeding episodes, Oneida chief Han Yerry, Virginia
slave James Armistead, Portuguese immigrant Peter Francisco, and teenaged girls
Sybil Ludington and Betty Zane get their just due. At one time, the latter
might have been familiar to some readers through the biographical novel written
by her great-grandnephew Zane Grey, but name recognition for both Zanes has
probably fallen off in recent years.
arguably the most intriguing figure of Empire
is John Honeyman, a Patriot spy who was so successful, we are still unsure
if that was really his name. There are several good candidates for movie
treatments in AHC’s American Revolution, with
Honeyman being at the top of the list (and requiring the most creative
Empire and the concluding Return of the Rebels, the series
maintains it focus on heroism (as it well should, given the name of the
network) and its implied endorsement of American exceptionalism (while still acknowledging
without belaboring the gross inequities of slavery, which is a tricky balancing
act). It also maintains the quality of the first episode, largely on par with
some of the better (but often less heralded) PBS historical programs.
In fact, there is a real market for programming
like American Revolution. People have
an appetite for hook-y digestible history without a lot of ideological
soapboxing that the History Channel is not serving the way it used to. Those
serious but not necessarily scholarly military history buffs should definitely
enjoy AHC’s American Revolution.
Recommended for general audiences, episodes one and two air back-to-back this
Monday (12/15), with the conclusion following this Tuesday night (12/16) on
Discovery Communications’ American Heroes Channel.
Labels: American Heroes Channel, American Revolution