Been meaning to post this for a while…
One of the projects I set for my recent vacation in England was to rewatch, with Kelly and my mother, the 7 Up documentaries, up through the most recent one, 49 Up, from 2005. We didn’t get all the way through, so I left the set with my mother to finish and bring with her on the next trip over.
Don’t know how familiar this series is generally in North America — I got a sense it had some following in Canada but almost none in the U.S. In any event, it is an awesome work and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. In essence, the series started out as a highly political and didactic screed on the Evils of the Class System, but over time has evolved into an unpredictable, sometimes moving and always engrossing meditation on life, including the strange entwinings of nature, nurture and plain luck, and the sheer irreducibility of individual experience. I read a description somewhere that recommended the programs as better than therapy and at a much more reasonable cost.
I have the set on DVD and would be happy to lend.
A couple of links below. Avoid the wikipedia article if you haven’t yet seen the shows — it gives too much away.
Clive Crook in the Atlantic (this was what got me to watch the shows in the first place, although I’d heard of them before):
Roger Ebert is a big fan (he also has a great interview with Apted in the DVD for 49 Up):