Ken Burns and Lynn Novick‘s The Vietnam War, a 10-part, 18-hour epic documentary about America’s greatest military tragedy, the conflict that permanently tarnished this country’s reputation internally and worldwide, will begin airing on 9.17.

Burns has been looking to match the cultural impact of The Civil War for over 25 years now — could this be it? That legendary 1990 series was a bear to get through (11 hours 30 minutes, 9 episodes) but it was eloquent and moving and musical, and six hours shorter than the current Vietnam series. Was 18 hours entirely necessary? Burns couldn’t cover the whole sprawl of it in 10 or 12 hours?

I’m much more interested in Michael Mann’s forthcoming Battle of Hue miniseries, which will run eight to ten episodes on FX. It’ll begin filming later this year and air…who knows? Maybe by the end of ’18.

9.17 is right after the Toronto Film Festival ends. I guess I could just watch The Vietnam War episode by episode like anyone else, or buy the PBS Bluray box (released on 9.19) for $83.45. But the more purposeful thing would be to attain streaming access now and work my way through it until my 8.30 Telluride departure.

The headline is from Karel Reisz‘s Who’ll Stop The Rain (’78). Michael Moriarty‘s John Converse: “Don’t they say this [i.e., Vietnam] is where everybody finds out who they are? Nick Nolte‘s Ray Hicks: “Yeah. What a bummer for the gooks.”