Picks and Pans Review: The Search for Democracy

updated 07/17/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/17/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (Tues., July 18, 9 P.M. ET)

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Democracy is something most Americans probably take for granted, as something that has always been there. Anyone who watches this excellent 10-part series will be reminded of what a rare and complex gift it is—and that it's not something our Founding Fathers invented. Canadian broadcast journalist Patrick Watson spent five years compiling this weekly series that examines the roots and evolution of the institution.

He visited 30 countries, including Japan, Nigeria and Argentina, interviewing everyone from Jimmy Carter to Melina Mercouri to Muammar Gaddafi, who claims the Greeks took the word democracy from the Arabs. This week's second episode, called "Reborn in America," examines the framers of the U.S. Constitution and the settling of this country's wild West. So far the show has made for some fascinating fare. Never, never dry.

Jeff Jarvis is on special assignment.

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