It’s been 25 years since Ken Burns’ acclaimed nine part documentary “The Civil War” was first broadcast on PBS. An audience of 39-40 million tuned in to the broadcast, which is the largest audience ever to view a PBS program. It aired in late September of 1990, and at that time the nation was preparing to go to war in the Middle East following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Perhaps the mood of the country during the military buildup contributed to the interest in the series, but it was the narration, period photos, artwork, and general style of the documentary that kept people tuned in over the five nights of the original broadcast.
Now the documentary has been remastered into something called Ultra High Definition, which I guess is better than regular high definition. Ken Burns appeared on the August 23rd edition of CBS’ Face the Nation, where he talked about the updated version of the series, the war and its aftermath, politics, and history:
I’m looking forward to seeing how Burns and his production company have made the old images taken by Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, and others more vivid and clear for this updated version of the documentary. It’s scheduled to air on PBS September 7th-11th, 2015.