The BCC made two documentary series about the USA this year. This one is the light-hearted, fast-paced one, which sees Stephen Fry gallop about the country in a black cab stopping for short segments in different states, trying to convey a flavour of America rather than the detailed historical persepctive of Simon Schama's alternative series (see Simon Schama's The American Future: A History
Stephen Fry in America is very entertaining, always presented with a wry smile and a witty comment. It contains some stunning photography of the landscape and some interesting interviews with local characters as well as Fry's two-minute historical overview of the area.
The programmes cover the West, the Mountains and Plains, the Deep South, New England, the Missisipi and the Pacific. Memorable moments include his visit to Morgan Freeman's blues bar and seeing the reality of Angola prison, going to the civil war battlefield and going underground into a missile base. Even milking sheep!
However, this programme really does try to cram too much stuff into too little time. It would have been so much better as 12-part series. Most of the interviews just get going and -- wallop! -- you have to gallop onto the next bit. Some states don't even get a look in (and some of the editing choices are bizarre. There's a lot of time spent gawping at the voodoo ritual, for instance, and Fry has plenty of time to make smart-alec jokes about sheep's private parts but barely a moment to discuss how the cheese is actually made...).
Overall though this is entertaining and informative, if rarely revelatory. It offers a window through which we can understand American culture a little better.