Emulating the formula that worked so successfully with its impressive “WWII in HD,” the History Channel set its sights on a new generation of hero with “Vietnam in HD.” All of the trademark production values are present including actual footage shot by soldiers in battle as well as high profile actors incorporated into dramatic vocal recreations. While all of the newly filmed material looks stellar in its HD presentation, the real Vietnam filmstock quality varies depending upon the source material. It has, however been cleaned and restored to an admirable degree and many of the images (as they were culled from private sources) have not been utilized before in other Vietnam projects. This found footage provides “Vietnam in HD” a real intimacy. The six part miniseries is both a harrowing and realistic look at the Vietnam conflict as well as a fitting tribute to the men who served. While few documentaries can hope to cover every angle of this complicated situation (and I’m sure many will point out the subjects that were not covered in depth–for example, almost all focus is on ground forces), “Vietnam in HD” scores in an area that counts the most–it honors the soldiers in a very personal way.
The basic narrative presentation recounts the stories of 13 men and women, and we see the war unravel from their perspective. From soldiers, to medical personnel, to reporters, to those on the homefront–this covers a myriad of individual experiences while highlighting key components and chapters of the war itself.
(1) The Beginning 1964-1965, (2) Search & Destroy 1966-1967, (3) The Tet Offensive 1968, (4) An Endless War 1968-1969, (5) A Changing War 1969-1970, and (6) Peace With Honor 1971-1975.
The miniseries is narrated by Michael C Hall (Dexter) and features a large and diverse vocal cast including James Marsden, Blair Underwood, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Zachary Levi, Armie Hammer, Dylan McDermott, Dean Cain, Adrian Grenier, and Edward Burns among many others. From the build-up of troops in 1965 to the fall of Saigon a decade later, “Vietnam in HD” expertly balances the recreations (that are told through the words of those that are portrayed) and documentary footage. It is a must for anyone interested in the topic!