|(C) 2017 Public Broadcasting Service and Florentine Films|
On Sunday, September 17, The Vietnam War, a 10-part, 18-hour-long documentary series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, premiered on PBS with the episode "Deja Vu: 1858-1961." Written by Burns' frequent collaborator, historian Geoffrey C. Ward, this epic series seeks to explore a complex and still divisive topic - the Vietnam War.
Two days later, PBS Distribution released The Vietnam War on DVD and Blu-ray even though the series is still (as of this writing) in progress. PBS affiliates all over the country will air "Resolve: January 1966 - June 1967" tonight, although some PBS members are already able to stream the series as part of their paid supporter's perks.
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never been told on film. Visceral and immersive, the series explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides - Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam. - package blurb, The Vietnam War
Although "Deja Vu: 1858-1961" covers the era of French colonial rule, the Vietnamese nation's long and bloody struggle for self-determination, and the Cold War tensions that led to America's involvement in Indochina, the series focuses on the period between 1961 and 1975. Those 14 years saw the U.S. - motivated by idealism, naivete, and fear of Communist expansion - gradually involve itself in what was essentially a local civil war that ended up becoming a military and political quagmire that divided the U.S, like nothing else had since our own Civil War in the 1860s.
Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. THE VIETNAM WAR features more than 100 iconic musical recordings from (the) greatest artists of the era and haunting original music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as well as the Silk Road Ensemble featuring Yo Yo Ma. - package blurb, The Vietnam War
Volume One of The Vietnam War consists of the following:
- Episode One: Deja Vu (1858-1961)
- Episode Two: Riding the Tiger (1961-1963)
- Episode Three: The River Styx (January 1964-December 1965)
- Episode Four: Resolve: (January 1966-June 1967)
- Episode Five: This Is What We Do (July 1967-December 1967)
Disc One, the BD that features "Deja Vu," also contains a 45-minute-long behind-the-scenes look at The Making of THE VIETNAM WAR and some scenes that are not in the main series.
Volume Two of The Vietnam War consists of the following:
- Episode Six: Things Fall Apart (January 1968-July 1968)
- Episode Seven: The Veneer of Civilization (June 1968-May 1969)
- Episode Eight: The History of the World (April 1969-May 1970)
- Episode Nine: A Disrespectful Loyalty (May 1970-March 1973)
- Episode Ten: The Weight of Memory (March 1973-Onward)
The 10th disc also comes with several bonus features, including a moving gathering of veterans from the conflicts in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. One of the participants of The Vietnam War, Marine veteran John Musgrove, is one of the vets who shares his vivid and moving memories of how he served in "the Walking Dead" and talks about his struggles with the wounds - physical and emotional - the war left him with.
Overall, PBS's home video division did a magnificent job with this Blu-ray release. The high-definition video quality is excellent, boasting a crisp and clean resolution of 1080i. The audio mix is also top-notch, boasting a 5.1 Surround English language sound track as well as a Spanish language 2.0 stereo track. In addition, there are English and Spanish subtitles for deaf or hearing impaired viewers, and a Descriptive Video for the Visually Impaired (DVI) audio track for the blind.
Spanish Dolby Stereo 2.0