‘The Circus’ explores ‘distinctly American’ history, and how TV toppled the big top

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(CNN)Stop if you’ve heard this one: A “clearly American” mass-entertainment organization flourishes for many years, prior to its company design gets weakened by brand-new innovation. Just with “The Circus,” a strangely prompt PBS documentary, it’s the “biggest program in the world” that succumbed to a brand-new shipment system– specifically, tv.

That framing offers the larger image in an exceptionally amusing four-hour documentary, which, like the very best PBS fare, filters American history through the lens of a particular occasion or organization, a la “The Civil War” or “Baseball.” A sweeping take a look at life under the huge top, “The Circus” likewise checks out a range of problems– race, ladies’s suffrage, animal rights, and shared popular culture– through the epic hucksters and entertainers that birthed the self-anointed Greatest Show in the world.
Although it bears all the trademarks of those abovementioned Ken Burns documentaries, “The Circus” was composed and directed by Sharon Grimberg, under the “American Experience” banner.

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