WWII Makes for Unconvincing TV

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AUTHOR: Scott "Squid314" of LiveJournal



THESIS: History Channel documentaries on "the so-called 'World War II'" are not believable.

WWII SHOWS ARE: "Nothing more than overwritten collections of tropes impossible to watch without groaning."


SLOPPY CHARACTERS: "It's pretty standard 'shining amazing good guys who can do no wrong' versus 'evil legions of darkness bent on torture and genocide' stuff, totally ignoring the nuances and realities of politics."

LAME NAMES: "Between calling the strongman 'Man of Steel' and the Frenchman 'de Gaulle', whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot."

BAD GUYS TOO EVIL TO BE BELIEVABLE: "Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil."


Probably the worst part was the ending. The British/German story arc gets boring, so they tie it up quickly, have the villain kill himself (on Walpurgisnacht of all days, not exactly subtle) and then totally switch gears to a battle between the Americans and the Japanese in the Pacific. Pretty much the same dichotomy - the Japanese kill, torture, perform medical experiments on prisoners, and frickin' play football with the heads of murdered children, and the Americans are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

Anyway, they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there's no way to take the Japanese home islands because they're invincible...and then they realize they totally can't have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before - drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?
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