Monday Sep 01, 2008

Is this just Fantasy?

Over the last few weeks quite a lot of people who know I'm an archaeologist have been asking my opinion of Bonekickers (otherwise known by many less complimentary names I shall not repeat in front of a family audience). My response has been that the show is clearly Fantasy and owes as much to Xena as it does to Time Team (of which more later). As such I have enjoyed the show while regarding it as entertaining nonsense, despite the thin veneer (about 1 quick-drying coat) of 'serious' archaeology. Interestingly, at the Discworld Convention 2008, which ended a week ago, numerous people were quite keen to agree with this assertion, although we all thought Bonekickers rather less realistic and internally consistent than say, Terry Pratchett's flat world on the back of a giant turtle. My major complaint throughout the whole series came down to that sword and its shape, which seemed unlikely to say the least. This is just nit-picking though, when the show had already played merry hell with the last 4,500 years of history. Either you switched your brain off while watching and had a good time or you sat obsessively pointing out every mistake. Episode 5, about a buried WWI tank was even quite good and managed to cover a few themes while uncovering the resting place of the Maid of Orleans. In the end, I found it more watchable and less painful than Time Team, where sometimes you even know the people on screen (it could be you after all) and yet it still seems like some strange alien world due to the compressive lens of television. So roll on Bonekickers series 2! Now, where's my 'Don't mess with me, I'm an archaeologist!' t-shirt?

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