The history of the U.S. National Parks system, including the initial ideas which led to the world's first national parks and the expansion of the system over 150 years.
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2009  
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Himself - Narrator (6 episodes, 2009)
William Cronon ...
 Himself - Historian (6 episodes, 2009)
Dayton Duncan ...
 Himself - Writer (6 episodes, 2009)
Shelton Johnson ...
 Himself - Park Ranger (6 episodes, 2009)
Alfred Runte ...
 Himself - Historian (6 episodes, 2009)
Paul Schullery ...
 Himself - Writer (5 episodes, 2009)
Carl Pope ...
 Himself - Sierra Club (5 episodes, 2009)
Terry Tempest Williams ...
 Herself - Writer (5 episodes, 2009)
Murphy Guyer ...
 Reader (5 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (5 episodes, 2009)
Kevin Conway ...
 Reader (5 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (5 episodes, 2009)
Kim Heacox ...
 Himself - Writer (4 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (4 episodes, 2009)
Lee Stetson ...
 Himself - Muir Historian / ... (4 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (4 episodes, 2009)
Lee Whittlesey ...
 Himself - Historian (3 episodes, 2009)
Nevada Barr ...
 Herself - Former Ranger (3 episodes, 2009)
Juanita Greene ...
 Herself - Journalist (3 episodes, 2009)
Gerard Baker ...
 Himself - Park Superintendent (3 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2009)
Tim Clark ...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2009)
...
 Reader (3 episodes, 2009)
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The history of the U.S. National Parks system, including the initial ideas which led to the world's first national parks and the expansion of the system over 150 years.

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27 September 2009 (USA)  »

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(6 episodes)

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1.78 : 1
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Featured in Ken Burns: America's Storyteller (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Boring, pedantic, one-sided and poorly paced
12 October 2009 | by (CA) – See all my reviews

The scenery on a big HD TV rates a "7", but the horrendous talking heads and the complete one-sidedness (John Muir is a God, Pinchot is the Devil) viewpoint of the program rates a "1".

The pacing was just awful. Realizing that Yosemite and Yellowstone are, arguably, the most important National Parks, way too much time and footage was spent on these two spots and far too little was spent on parks such as Isle Royale and the Florida Everglades, to name two of many parks that were given the short shrift.

Further, it was jarring to switch from the beautiful scenery to the awful, pedantic and hard to watch commentators. Particularly annoying was talking bobble head William Cronon, who's constant head shaking was reminiscent of the girl in the clip from Gumnaam that's at the beginning of Ghost World (check it out on youtube). Carl Pope of the Sierra Club, with his grating voice, did nothing to further his organization's cause. Revenge of the Nerds came to mind in watching these commentators.

Also, the overly dramatic, painfully slow reading of many boring letters did little to help the narrative.

I really wanted to like this. I believe that the National Parks are very important, but this dreadful waste of 12 hours did nothing for this viewer.


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