Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Armageddon out of here
QUIRKY! Wonderland, BBC2, 9:50pm
Wonderland has been an interesting little documentary series so far from what we have seen of it. We can't say we have watched all of the episodes in the series, but we do like its quirky subject matter. We presume 'quirky is the running theme of this series of documentaries, as we can't see any other common thread there.
Tonight's episode is called 'The End of the World Bus Tour'. Tour rep Sharon provides ten-day tours to Israel with a speciality for those who believe Armageddon is upon us. The documentary follows one such group.
In the last year alone we have seen Louis Theroux meets... the most hated family in America, Keith Allen meets... the exact same people, The End of the World Cult and the upcoming Baby Bible Bashers (Thursday, 9pm, C4). You would think there couldn't be any more tales of extremist American (we're assuming most of tonight's subjects are American, as that is what the trailer has led us to believe) religious types to tell, but apparently not.
What seems to set this documentary apart from all the others is the focus on the tourism aspect of the trip to Israel, and the fact that Wonderland tends to take a slightly more unique (read: less patronising) angle than other similar documentaries.
Even so, documentary makers, take note, this theme is getting a little old. We understand extreme beliefs make for good telly (and on that note we also don't need to see any more shows on 'present-day Nazis' for a good five years now) but you need to vary your subject matter. Why not branch out and do a whole series on people who have an extreme belief in the values of, say, Echo Beach? Now that would be interesting...
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Louis Theroux's documentaries are fair minded/well put together, I have enjoyed watching them - perhaps because he is Brit-American. The rest of them - is this a case of jumping on the bandwagon or plain old racism?
As a Briton living in America - I can't help but feel that these constant documentaries about extreme America aren't a little racist. Sure, its 'terribly British' to be anti-American but you are talking about a country whose population is 301,139,947 to Britain's rather paltry 60,776,238 - of course there is bound to be more weirdos here.
Frankly at least we can walk down most streets without getting stabbed for our trainers! Maybe someone should do a documentary about that.