Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Monkees Show on Smithsonian

Someone called me last night to say they had a Monkees documentary on the Smithsonian channel. I remember seeing a note about a documentary over at the newsgroup on the Monkees, but hadn't opened it or read it.

That's the first time, actually, that I ever heard of the Smithsonian channel, but I didn't process it till I got this call. The Smithsonian has their own channel? Not on my TV, but I don't have digital cable, just basic. So I couldn't have watched it if I tried.

But at the newsgroup, someone had been invited as a "VIP" to preview it, and this person posted the URL and the password to do that with. So I went there and, sure enough, it was the entire show. So I watched it, even though my computer is mildly halting. It worked OK.

As I was watching it I noticed it was all familiar, leading me to conclude that it was a rehash of the same interviews as was on the Biography show one time, or somewhere. Then I read the other couple posts on the newsgroups and that was someone else's sense too.

They did what you do with a story like the Monkees in a brief amount of time, 46 minutes, you make it a big conflict with Don Kirschner, you divide it up into success and sliding toward failure, and, in the show, that was the pivot.

As to that being historically accurate, I don't think it is entirely. Obviously the Monkees phenomenon had a shelf life, and it wasn't going to go 10 years if they had Kirschner running it. It was going to have an arc, a beginning and end anyway.

There were things that had to be left out, and they let you draw conclusions that weren't necessarily true. Item, it was said that Headquarters was number one for a week, but that the public preferred the Monkees under Kirschner to the Monkees on their own. But I was there, dude, and it wasn't that way at all. They were still raging strong with Headquarters, but when you have Sgt. Pepper coming out the next week, you tell me who was going to be number one that week! Headquarters came out before the '67 tour was in full force. That was a big deal. It was out before the second season. They had enormous hits still to come, plus the Pisces album. That wasn't mentioned on the show.

There were obviously tensions, weird dynamics within the group. It was a TV show and needed a TV show to sustain itself very long. It was a time like now. You keep going or you're crushed by shifting tastes and competition.

As to Don Kirschner, his stuff was great as stuff. But the more interesting stuff is stuff without him.

1 comment:

Susanne and Ron's Blog said...

Hi there, I handle digital media for Smithsonian Channel and just wanted to let you know that we did an interview with Davy Jones and you can listen to it on our blog. Here's the link