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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Architecture > History > A Cemetery Special (PBS)

A Cemetery Special (PBS)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: B-



When one thinks about a cemetery I would venture to guess that most are not necessary drawn to them in the most appealing way.  To most, they represent the final resting spot for their body, but A Cemetery Special reveals some interesting facts about various cemeteries located throughout America.  Part of the 60-minute journey details some of the factual information associated with some of the historical sites, while other times we are given personal reflections by people that ‘enjoy’ going to cemeteries or people that preserve them. 


I must confess this particular program did not exactly sound like something to sit down for the evening and enjoy, but that quickly changed as I realized the program had more to offer than just factoids about cemeteries.  Rick Sebak is known for doing incredible work, especially at Pittsburgh’s WQED, the nation’s first public television station and home of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.  You can access some of his other material, which has been reviewed elsewhere on this site, and issued through WQED’s own DVD arm.  This one happens to be going through the PBS label.


The program unfolds some higher thoughts on mortality and various perspectives as to what a cemetery represents as in a ‘memorial’.  Some of the old sites have various types of architecture and the art of gravestones are slightly touched in this program.  I suppose a whole program could be dedicated to the art of crafting gravestones, but this is also a lost art nowadays. 


The full-frame image looks good considering the program is a bit older and was shot on video.  Detail and depth is the biggest issue and shows the limitation of the format.  Audio-wise, the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix is good for the type of program that this is and does not limit the experience.  What is the target audience for a program of this nature?  Good question.  I would recommend this to anyone who typically enjoys the PBS material that is on the market.  History buffs will also enjoy some of the snippets, but even more so I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for something a little ‘different’ than usual and are open to learning about a different aspect of something we rarely think about.  Extras are not necessarily plentiful, but are appreciated as we get some Q&A post-program questions asking people where they would like to be buried and there are also a few outtakes to round things off.



-   Nate Goss


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