Centennial - an epic mini-series  » TV  »
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  • Robert Conrad plays Pasquinel, and in my opinion, it's his best performance
  • It's one of the best productions ever done for the television stage

    • by Orrymain

      all reviews
      Centennial, the mini-series, is introduced to the audience by James Michener, the man who authored the novel on which the mini-series is based. It’s an easy and casual way to tell us what is in store.

      1795 is when the story really begins with a brave and colorful Frenchman named Pasquinel making his way across Indian territory to trap beaver. Robert Conrad plays Pasquinel, and in my opinion, it’s his best performance. It’s Pasquinel who is the center of Centennial, even as the story moves forward. I say this because he’s the heart, the soul, and the passion of Centennial long before the town exists.

      Richard Chamberlain plays Alexander McKeag, a Scotsman Pasquinel saves from being killed by the Indians. The two become partners and remain totally devoted to the other, even when they aren’t speaking and have serious differences. There’s something odd about these two men becoming best friends. They are vastly different, and that’s what makes it work so well.

      Pasquinel teaches McKeag,

      who learns quickly. They become a team that is forceful, friends who call things the way they see them, even against the other. Through it all, they are steadfast in their friendship, even when a gold-hungry Pasquinel marries Clay Basket (Barbara Carrera), who McKeag has already fallen in love with. It’s the cruelest part of their relationship. Admittedly, I wasn’t happy with this turn. The voiceover makes a great point about the Indians having confused Pasquinel’s courage with honor, since we know he already has at least one wife, and maybe more.

      We meet so many hale and hearty characters in these opening episodes. I could easily write pages about several of them. Instead, I’ll just mention that the first episode, Only the Rocks Live Forever, is a wonderful movie in itself, and that’s really what it is, the first part of a superb movie.

      This first episode hooked me big time. It’s the friendship of two unlikely characters that is at its ...

      • heart. It’s long, but it’s worth watching every second.

        Then, we move on, going forward all the way to modern day, when a journalist played by Sharon Gless convinces another writer (Andy Griffith) to do a feature story on Centennial. It superbly wraps up the hours-long epic mini-series, tying together all the pieces of the puzzle. We meet descendents of the characters we first fell in love with in Part 1. It’s truly a legacy and not just a history lesson.

        Centennial is approved by the National Education Association. That’s how right on this show is. Sometimes, it feels like the Native American version of Roots, and that’s not a bad thing. The white man was so cruel to these Indians who nurtured the land. We butchered it; they cared for it. It hits home with each passing episode just how much the white man destroyed the land. The sad thing is, we’re still doing it.

        David Janssen provides narration for most

        of the episodes, letting the audience in on the current situation or bringing the past up to the future. He actually stars in the final episode in a pivotal character.

        Centennial features an all-star cast, truly. Robert Conrad, Richard Chamberlain, Raymond Burr, Sally Kellerman, Chad Everett, Brian Keith, Donald Pleasance, Gregory Harrison,, Lynn Redgrave, Dennis Weaver, Kario Salem, Robert Vaughn, Richard Crenna, and just a huge, giant list of stars. The acting is first rate, and each story is unique and true to America’s development of the west.

        I cannot recommend Centennial strongly enough. As I said about the first episode, it’s its own movie. So are the following episodes. Each tells an important story, from the introduction of cattle to Colorado, to the discovery of gold, to the protection of the eagle. It’s wide in scope, and it’s so very important to hear what Centennial has to say.

        Watch it. It’s one of the best productions ever done for the television stage.

    Dee Mazzei says :

    Who narrated Centennial? It sounds like Aaron Burr.

    John says :

    Dee, it was actually narrated by Paul Garrett.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in October, 2009. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 101210866141231/k2311a1012/10.12.09
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