Shows From The Past: Centennial 

I fell into a miniseries and binge watched it last weekend. I stumbled onto a copy of the 1978-79 miniseries Centennial based on the book of the same name by James A. Michener.

If you’re not familiar with Michener work his first novel, Tales of the South Pacific is based on his time in the South Pacific. It is this novel that Rogers and Hamerstein based their hit musical on. Every novel and historical nonfiction he wrote since the 1940s was a success. Additionally, there are several societies dedicated to him as well as a graduate school for creative writing in his honor. As soon as I watched the series introduction where Michener was speaking I recognized his name and went to download the ebook version of Centennial  (which I’m still reading because it is much more layered than the miniseries, and is rather long at over 900 pages).

As the show went on I found this series to be half audiobook and have television miniseries. This is because large portions of the show have little action visually and/or have large portions of narrations. After I adjusted to that, I really began to enjoy the show.

It starts by a brief explanation of the start of the continent, melting of glaciers, and the arrival of man. It quickly takes us to the 1795 and the story of a trapper who wants to trade beaver skins with native tribe along the river Platte.

The story is completely set in that region following the man’s decedents. It takes the viewer through time until the late 1930s. The final episode ends in the year the show was aired  1978.

As a writer and former political worker, this story is greatly appealing ending with a political race and featuring a young female reporter. But the rest of the series is a rich history of the people, animals, and land of Colorado. Although mostly fiction the story is inspired by true events, the type that will make you want to pause and google.

If you aren’t pausing to Google the history, you’ll pause to look up the cast. Every major star from the era is in this, not to mention one of the extras in a battle scene is a teen aged George Clooney!

Here’s the Wikipedia links of the cast. For more about James A. Michener go to Achievement,org 

Starring Michael Ansara
Raymond BurrRichard ChamberlainRobert ConradRichard Crenna

Timothy Dalton

Andy Griffith

Mark Harmon

Gregory Harrison

David Janssen

Alex Karras

Brian Keith

Stephen McHattie,

Lois Nettleton

Adrienne La Russa

Lynn Redgrave

Pernell Roberts

Robert Vaughn

Anthony Zerbe

Stephanie Zimbalist