The fourth and final episode of the third season of Pioneers of Television aired this past Tuesday (February 5th) on PBS. The episode dealt with the miniseries. Only three were discussed and all three were ABC miniseries. To be fair they are three of the biggest miniseries of all time: Rich Man, Poor Man (1976), Roots (1977) and The Thorn Birds (1983).
As was the case with the three other episodes, no actual attempt was made to discuss the actual pioneers of the miniseries format, which dates back to the early 1970s when CBS aired several foreign miniseries.
Understandably, the episode kicked off with the miniseries that defines the genre, Roots, and devoted thirty minutes to it. The interviews were wonderful. All of the cast members interviewed had some good stories to tell. LeVar Burton and John Amos gave particularly good interviews.
It was Rachel Ward who stole the show with her candid thoughts about the criticism she received for her role on The Thorn Birds and how it impacted and continues to impact her life.
If Pioneers of Television returns for a fourth season, I doubt very much there will be any change in the focus of the series to actually cover television pioneers. That being said and despite the overall negative tones my reviews of this season’s episodes have taken, I would welcome additional episodes. I just don’t think there are many subjects left to cover.