History gets adventure makeover for TV series

Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:48pm EDT
 
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Think history is something confined to books? Think again.

When the producers of "America the Story of Us" started working on a 12-hour series for the History Channel, they envisaged a "rip-roaring adventure", starting with a meteor crashing through the Appalachian mountains 300 million years ago, and 16 million buffalo roaming the open western plains.

"Sometimes you have the idea that history is a dusty thing in books. This (series) is the opposite. It is energetic and exciting and full of people having amazing moments," executive producer Jane Root told Reuters.

More than a year in the making, "America the Story of Us" debuts on Sunday in what the History Channel says is the first TV project in more than 40 years to cover 400 years of U.S. history.

A very different take on U.S. history is expected later this year from movie director Oliver Stone, who is working on a "Secret History of America" documentary for cable TV channel Showtime.

Stone has said his series will challenge the conventional view of key events in the last 60 years and is "going to be on the edge and challenging."

"America the Story of Us" is decidedly patriotic in tone.

It uses Hollywood-style computer generated imagery (CGI) to recreate events ranging from the British Navy's bombardment of New York Harbor in the Revolutionary War to the high-wire life of workers building New York's first skyscrapers.   Continued...

 
<p>Native American Indians are shown in a scene from the History Channel's "America the Story of Us" in this undated publicity photo released to Reuters April 23, 2010. REUTERS/History Channel/Handout</p>