Friday, February 19, 2010

Favorite Historical Programs

On Monday, Stephanie Thornton asked about my favorite historical movie or TV show. The favorite historical TV show bit is easy -- Ancient Discoveries on the History Channel. It's where I first found out about the Antikythera Mechanism, Galen's medical genius, and Hero of Alexandria and his steam engine skills.

As to the movie portion of things, my favorites are Braveheart and The Patriot (no, I'm not a huge Mel Gibson fan thankyouverymuch). Random side note: Have you noticed that, in many movies where Mel Gibson is the lead, his character's wife is either already dead or dies in the course of the film? In action movies specifically.

There are other historical movies I liked -- Kingdom of Heaven, Lawrence of Arabia, and Elizabeth to name a few -- but those two mentioned above are probably tops for me. Braveheart hits the right notes for action and grandeur (even if the most famous line is "They can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom"*), and The Patriot is just cool.

And that completes my Q&A for this week. I might do another one next month, but we'll see what happens.

* Terry Pratchett satirized this line in Night Watch. The scene:
Reg had stood up, was waving the flag back and forth, was clambering over the barricade ... 

He held the flag like a banner of defiance. 

"You can take our lives but you'll never take our freedom!" he screamed. 

Carcer's men looked at one another, puzzled by what sounded like the most badly thought-out war cry in the history of the universe. Vimes could see their lips moving as they tried to work it out. 

Carcer raised his bow, gestured to his men, and said: "Wrong!" 

Reg was hit by five heavy bolts, so that he did a little dance before falling to his knees. It happened within seconds.


fairyhedgehog said...

I've just reread Night Watch. I love that book!

Matthew Delman said...

Terry Pratchett's novels are pretty much the only ones I re-read on a semi regular basis.

Stephanie Thornton said...


I miss the History Channel. We got rid of cable when we had the munchkin and I've pretty much stopped watching TV altogether. Except for shows that come out on DVD. I love The Tudors!

L. T. Host said...

Stephanie-- I miss the History Channel too! (We also no longer have cable). Actually, I miss the History, Discovery, and Learning Channels.

Matt-- Only read one Terry Pratchett, but I'll be back for more.

Susan R. Mills said...

I'd never thought about the Mel Gibson thing with the wife, but you are right. How funny. Great historical movie picks!

Adam Heine said...

"Have you noticed that, in many movies where Mel Gibson is the lead, his character's wife is either already dead or dies in the course of the film?"

That's because she's the woman in the refrigerator. Read that link. I think you'll find it interesting.

On another note, I often tell my Northern Irish friends that, if they ever want to overthrow the rule of England, Braveheart and The Patriot are two very good instructional videos on the subject.

dolorah said...

Two of my favorites as well, and I'm a definite Mel Gibson fan. In RANSOM the wife is never in any danger, but the kid is. Another awesome movie.

O love the history channel, and Discovery. Two of my favorites are Life After People and Myth Busters. Ancient Discoveries has given me an idea or two on story background too.

Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself with us Matt.


Andrew Rosenberg said...

I really like Band of Brothers, and Ken Burns Baseball.