But mostly, it’s a mad rush. This really sinks in when the first mention is made of Mao and Chinese Communism with fewer than 30 minutes to go in the final episode. The Great Leap Forward and the resulting famine are covered in one sentence. The Cultural Revolution gets a few minutes, almost entirely devoted to an anecdote about a family hiding a treasured heirloom from the Red Guards.

And therein lies a key to the approach of Mr. Wood and his producer and director, Rebecca Dobbs. “The Story of China” is framed by the idea that respect for family is the constant thread through 4,000 years of tumultuous and violent history. It’s a simplistic notion, but it’s a natural fit for Mr. Wood’s folksy, intimate storytelling method.

-Mike Hale ‘Review: Wait, Was That Confucius? PBS’s Rushed ‘Story of China’‘ The New York Times


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