category: films and TV shows, category: history, category: public service announcement

Random #PSA: Two Great Smithsonian Documentaries (free on Netflix)

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In the spirit of my random public service announcements, here are two terrific Smithsonian documentaries I viewed this week (both of which are available on Netflix).

You may recall reading about the discovery of Richard III’s remains last year, buried deep beneath what is now a London parking lot. The English king, who reigned only two years and lost his throne to the upstart Tudors (ugh — let’s all join in on a moment of boo’ing against the Tudors), was soon vilified by his contemporaries and later even by Shakespeare. It is rumored that Richard had his two nephews bumped off so as to obtain the throne uncontested (i.e., the princes in the Tower). He was also described as deformed, with a hunchback and a withered arm. Some believe this unflattering description was merely a product of ‘victors writing history’ while others believe this was an accurate assessment. Well, the findings? No withered arm but yes to the spinal problem. (Of course it had to be true! Thomas More described him as such and More is never wrong! :)) More importantly, though, is the way the archaeological team went about locating the site, excavating the body (finding it on their first day on the dig! amazing!), and identifying whether this was, in fact, Richard III. (Sidenote: The lady who’s the head of the Richard III society? How does one become that interested in a single monarch who was, apart from a nasty rumor about nephews, quite unremarkable? Watch closely in the scene where she learns he did, in fact, have a hunchback issue. I was certain she would faint from sheer disappointment/shock. It’s quite funny.)

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Another documentary I wish to recommend is one regarding the Vinland map. My opinion: no way is it real! Watch it — I think you’ll agree.

This week, I plan to watch two others that look terrific and are right up my alley, concerning two of my favorite ‘mysteries’: King Arthur and the Shroud of Turin.

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Happy documentary watching!

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