Picks and Pans Review: American Experience
PBS (Mon.-Tues., Nov. 11-12, 9 p.m ET)
For viewers who don’t remember much about Jimmy Carter’s one term in the White House, this two-part documentary is a useful overview of an Administration that reeled from crisis to crisis between 1977 and 1980—soaring inflation, a gasoline shortage, the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Iran. It’s also a valuable character study that explains how the Georgia native’s faith and principles have informed his public life, including the postpresidential work in conflict mediation that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in October.
Like Carter’s Presidency, however, the three-hour film seems incomplete. Among other omissions, there’s no mention of Cyrus Vance’s resignation as Secretary of State or John Anderson’s independent campaign for President in 1980. This is an American Experience that will leave you wanting more, and fortunately it will be followed on many PBS stations by an interview with Carter and his wife, Rosa-lynn, that was taped 10 days after the Nobel announcement.
Bottom Line: Worthy but spotty