Paleo Retiree writes:
I recently enjoyed (if with some reservations) the three-part BBC documentary series “Filthy Cities,” which recently became available on Netflix Instant. Medieval London, revolutionary Paris and industrial-age New York City are the filthy cities covered by the show, which asks the question: What did old cities do with the animal shit, human waste and workplace effluents that they produced in huge quantities?
The history itself is BBC-progressive and conventional, and I sometimes found the re-enactments (done in the style of shakeycam torture porn) so stomach-turning that I had to take breaks from watching. It’s not hard imagining the filmmakers amusing themselves figuring out historically responsible ways to gross their viewers out. But it’s a great topic, and the story and information are presented with the kind of gusto, cleverness, confidence and flair that has so often made me wonder: How did England manage to develop such a distinctive and stylish brand of documentary television?