America Revealed

America Revealed host Yul Kwon in a scene from episode 1. Photo:

I haven’t had a chance to watch yet, but I thought I’d mention a new PBS documentary series titled America Revealed (based on the BBC programme Britain from Above). I learned about the show from my favorite pop culture blogger, Linda Holmes at NPR’s Monkey See. Holmes gives the series a very thoughtful write-up that has me looking forward to seeing it myself.

As she summarizes the concept, “America Revealed is kind of an unfortunate title, since it sounds like it’s looking under petticoats or inside Al Capone’s vault. It’s actually a four-part documentary series about, basically, systems and networks, and you can understand why they didn’t give it a more accurate title like, America‘s Systems And Networks: Both Awesome And Hugely Problematic!

The opening installment is particularly relevant for visitors to this blog. As Holmes describes, “In the first episode, they’re biting off an awful lot by studying ‘the food machine’ (to quote the episode title) in an hour. Colony collapse disorder, the prevalence of corn in unexpected products like chicken nuggets, the cost of water, the rise in obesity, the problem of ‘craveability’ … it’s a lot, and obviously it’s more of a primer than an in-depth study. But as a way to introduce the issue of an efficient process versus a desirable process — of how to approach a food delivery system that’s actually very good at doing what it’s designed to do, which is deliver a huge amount of cheap food, while being very hard on health and the environment — it’s ambitious and thoughtful.”

I learned about the show too late to catch the first episode on TV, but thankfully PBS has built a content-filled website. So, check out Linda’s full review and then head to to watch the streaming video.


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