Peabody Winners Recap: AMC, Charlotte Street Films, BBC World News
Matt Shedd - 4/18/2014
When Breaking Bad won it’s first Peabody Award in 2008, the Peabody winner’s citation points to a more conflicted Walter White, who was facing “the moral questions becom[ing] more and more difficult for him—and the audience.” How far we’ve come since then. In the final stretch of 8 episodes that aired in 2013, the time for moral questioning has passed. Walter White has completely taken on the role of the show’s villain as Vince Gilligan makes good on his promise to utterly transform Walter White from Mr. Chips into Scarface.
Breaking Bad won the rare honor of the second Peabody Award after taking us into the darkest chambers of a human heart in a way never before seen on TV. Sticking the landing for a television show is always difficult, but these final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad did so in a way that felt Shakespearean in it’s scope. A descendant of both King Lear and Macbeth, Walter White contributes something uniquely his own to the our collective memory in this 21st century tragedy.
This comprehensive look at America’s war on drugs takes the viewer step by step through the immeasurably expensive war that the United States government publicly wages against its own citizens. It starts with the filmmaker asking his childhood caretaker Nannie Jeter, an African American, what she saw as the main problem facing black communities. Her answer, “Drugs.” From that simple answer, the filmmaker goes on to unravel the complexities of the contemporary manifestation of the drug war that came to fruition under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, and also to show how drug laws have been used historically in the United States to incarcerate unwanted citizens.
This documentary seamlessly switches between the legal, political, sociological, and historical analyses of drug laws by using interviews with drug dealers, police officers, prison guards, judges, physicians, academics, and journalists. The documentary takes a clear-eyed look at what the war on drugs really is: a war on the poorest neighborhoods in our society. As former journalist and creator of Peabody Award-winning show The Wire, David Simon states in the documentary, the war on drugs is a “holocaust in slow motion.”
It’s rare that a major news outlet can provide the vivid, on-the-ground details of a war that is dominating the headlines and is on the verge of becoming an international conflict. BBC World News makes the conflict real for those thousands of miles away through its gut-wrenchingly up close coverage of Syria’s civil war. It presents the viewer with the undeniable and horrific realities of the conflict on ordinary citizens who are caught between the government forces and the rebels.
By following both troops on both sides, the reporters take you into the heart of the war where fresh blood can be seen on the floor from a recently discovered massacre outside of Homs; children are found hiding out in a cave, waiting for their mother to return; and civilians are shown screaming and covered with burns from a recent chemical attack, desperate for medical attention. This unique and graphic coverage of the unfolding story grounded the political coverage of the Syrian conflict by showing the intense suffering of civilians in war that was ravaging the country.