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Washington insiders served up the inside info on the Obama presidency in what was essentially a highbrow, politically-slanted variation on a celebrity gossip show. In a good way.
In a nutshell
It feels like only yesterday that Barack Obama became US president – partly because it was such a historic event, so hailed by every media outlet, that memories will probably be fresh in our minds well into the future. Yet, as this big new documentary series confirms, the Obama era is bittersweet. Looking back at footage of his 2008 victory, the surging optimism, the bright hopes about becoming a post-racial West… well, it’s hard not to feel a little short-changed by what actually ensued.
This film absolutely confirmed that the fault lies with the system rather than Obama himself. The mechanisms of the state make it frustratingly difficult for any president to truly bring about radical changes. And this is true abroad as well as at home – in perhaps the programme’s most memorable segment, we heard about how Obama, annoyed at how the Chinese premier was sabotaging a climate conference in Copenhagen, literally barged into a meeting involving the leaders of China, India and South Africa, totally breaching standard diplomatic etiquette to get his points heard. If the US president has to resort to such tactics, what hope the rest of the government?
What's the verdict?
Taking in subjects like the Tea Party movement (who now seem oddly quaint in the wake of Donald Trump) and the other ups and downs of Obama’s early years, this series is a fittingly complex and unflinching (and gossipy) exploration of a seminal leader. A must see.