Earlier this year, I was enthralled by CNN’s excellent and Tom Hanks-produced miniseries on modern history, so much so that I binged them all during two long haul flights.
The first one I watched, The Nineties, was about my adolescence and it did not disappoint. In only seven sentences, this is how the documentary summarized the decade:
- TV: The decade starts with “The Simpsons,” ends with “The Sopranos,” and MTV permeates Generation X eyeballs with “reality TV” while cable news sensationalizes everything.
- Music: Nirvana releases “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Generation X finally feels heard. Women become the “latest trend in rock” and gangsta rap takes over.
- Politics: Bill Clinton rides into the White House on a wave of hope, but his presidency is soon weighed down by scandal and staunch Republican opposition.
- Globalization: The Soviet Union collapses and world leaders attempt to shape a New World Order. Nelson Mandela is freed and Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.
- Information Age: Computers go mainstream and the Information Age begins. Microsoft takes over everything and a new thing called the internet connects the world.
- Terrorism: The radical right gains steam, with extremist elements carrying out acts of domestic terrorism. The Unabomber terrorizes the country.
- Division: Racial issues erupt across the country. The police beating of Rodney King sparks the L.A. riots. The O.J. Simpson trial captivates the nation.
Not a bad recap for a fast-moving documentary about a forward-thinking decade. 4/5 stars.