Mankind, The Story of Us, now playing on the History Channel, which I get on cable. It's one of those re enactment shows, actors in period costumes waving swords and such. It has some problems with production values. Such as a show lamenting the terrible death toll of the 14th century plague. Lots of gruesome shots of awful skin lesions, corpses tossed into the river, mass graves and other such gruesome stuff.. But the background score, instead of being something solemn and slow, is this perky little dance number with a strong drumbeat to it. While the voice over is saying how awful, the score is saying, show me some more of this.
The don't use maps much. They keep mentioning interesting stuff happening at out of the way places that I never heard of before. They never bother to cut to a map and show where that out of the way place is. They do a lot of talking about the Mongols, all with shots of Mongol horsemen in full costume galloping across the plain. They show a map of the Mongol empire at it's peak, but then it's back to those same horsemen galloping. Then don't talk about how long the empire lasted. There is no mention of the conquests of Russia and India. No mention of Subotai's invasion of Western Europe, aborted only because of Genghis Khan's death, and the recall of all senior Mongols to the Gobi to select his successor. Harold Lamb feels that Subotai's army might well have reached the English Channel if Subotai had not been recalled on account of Genghis Khan's death.
They did another episode spent trashing the Crusaders. No mention of the Byzantine Emperor's appeal to Pope Urban for a Frankish army to save his empire. No mention of the extra ordinary projection of military power across a thousand miles by a pre industrial society. No mention of Muslims roughing up Christian pilgrims headed for Jerusalem. No mention that Palestine was a Christian land recently conquered by Islam. No mention of the extraordinary feats of arms where by a handful of Christian knights, at the end of a thousand mile supply line, beat vastly superior Muslim armies. The producers wanted to trash the Crusaders and they proceeded to do so.
A low grade TV show.