I was a bit harsh on poor Mr. Ed yesterday. But the reality is that I have almost invariably had difficult relationship with typical tv, which is why I stopped watching it after I left home at age 18. Do not ask me about tv shows from 1971 on, because I missed out on 99% of them. The same largely applies to other aspects of popular culture. Yes, I later worked in tv, which only reinforced my feelings about it (I considered myself akin to a vegetarian butcher). We did not have a tv at home when our kids were little; they were read to, and started reading at a very young age instead.
Enough sermonizing. Fortunately the availability of watchable tv has vastly improved in recent years, and I have indulged in some quite good series on dark winter nights. But I invariably prefer documentaries and other non-fiction (books too) over scripted and fictionalized tv. Currently I’m watching these “Deadliest Roads” documentaries, and find them to be very compelling, and not just because of the scenes of ancient trucks, buses and cars navigating horrendous roads. There’s lots of human interest, history, geography, politics as well as excellent insight into how a large portion of humans live, often on a dollar or two a day. There’s some intense human drama and reality embedded in these, including little children as young as age six pounding rocks to make gravel. Here’s just a sampling; there’s quite a few more of them on Youtube.
This one documents how an incredibly ancient and battered Bedford truck makes one more journey to get building bricks for a remote village, even if it has absolutely no brakes. There’s other story threads too.
An old American school bus is one of the heroes of this segment; its ability to traverse horrendous roads would make its maker proud.
This one takes place in the deserts of Somaliland, which long ago broke away from Somalia and has remarkably effective democracy and government but has not yet been internationally recognized.