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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Review: Pioneers of Television: Robin Williams Remembered (2014)

Pioneers of Television: Robin Williams Remembered 
Runtime: 53 min

Plot: celebrating the life of Robin Williams with interviews, tributes and clips from his career

'Passable At Best, But Not The Definitive Onscreen Robin Williams Tribute'  

The TV documentary that aired on PBS in the U.S, 4 years ago didn't provide any new insights on one of the most successful & celebrated comedians and film actors of the past 4 decades, Robin Williams but at 60 mins long, it feels as though the story that was told felt incomplete. It never tried to go beyond or explore parts of his life and career in more thorough detail as one should do. 

Most of Robin Williams Remembered was comprised of old clips and footage, spliced along with interviews with cast members and those who knew him too well like Robin's Mork & Mindy co-star, Pam Dawber, Happy Days'  Henry Winkler, comedian Louie Anderson, Blake Clark & Awakenings director, Penny Marshall. 

His struggle with drugs, alcohol and depression are sadly lumped towards the very end of this feature and whilst it was a good thing it didn't turn into a discussion about his death, which really no one truly wants -, me included, it's kind of sad they decided to end the documentary on a sad note. I also felt that some aspects of his career and life were largely ignored and forgotten about, completely, though this is to do with the programme's time constraints. It didn't deserve just 60 mins, but more besides. It felt like a rushed job that was thrown together at the last minute after the death of Robin. It was all fragmented, uneven and because of the length, it jumped from one aspect to another without really delving into each of them properly. Produced one month after his death in 2014, it's likely that the people who took part still had to come to terms with his shocking demise and I think they and the producers should have waited 2 months after so they can gather their thoughts properly and after that, went ahead with the production. 

Williams's interview segments were straight from his mouth and whilst there was nothing new that hadn't been covered before, it wasn't that entertaining to endure, either. It's one of those documentaries where I was like: ''okay'' as I was sitting through it, but it never really left a monumental or lasting impact or impression on me.

Informative as it was and it tried to be, the Robin Williams Remembered TV special is ponderous and incomplete as life- based documentaries on famous people go. It's okay and watchable in places, but I just wasn't blown away by what I'd seen and heard. There wasn't anything that was too revealing that made me take notice. Being a PBS production meant that his TV career was more of the focal point ahead of his work as a movie actor, which have been cherry-picked and briefly referenced through major flicks Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting and Awakenings. Which I am a tad disappointed in because the bulk of his work was in feature-length and TV movies and they deserved more attention than just 1, 2 min clips and explanations from Robin and the other actors contributing to this piece. Yet Jumanji, Hook, Flubber, Patch Adams and Robin's lesser known movies are given the cold shoulder. 

Robin Williams Remembered is muddled, not very thorough and is more often mediocre in its execution than it is informative & entertaining.

I wouldn't watch this again.

There is still a great exhaustive Robin Williams tribute in documentary form lurking out there from somebody, but sadly, I think it will be a long time coming in seeing it being unleashed on the wider public and audiences, not to mention fans everywhere. 


Pros +

- Footage of the TV clips was nice 

- Interviews were all right

- Tries to be informative

Cons -

- Not very in-depth & it needed to have been longer 

- It's nothing the fans wouldn't have seen or known beforehand of Robin  

- Fragmented and it felt like a rush job


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