NBC’s Timeless was kinda fun; VP debate tonight; A better way to present conference papers?; Museum of African American History and Culture’s ticket system overwhelmed

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Next week on NBC’s Timeless our heroes meet Lincoln.

So I found myself enjoying NBC’s new time travel series, Timeless, last night. I don’t know if that passenger list for the return trip of the Hindenburg was accurate or not, but I don’t really care. Yes, the show is hokey, and it jumped into time travel too quickly, I thought. But it was a fun episode. Based on this interview with the show’s creators, it looks as though their aim is to keep it that way. Fun. I really like what they have to say in the interview about how television (and movies) these days seem to embrace the concept that to be good, you have to have dark and pessimistic themes. They want to buck that trend and return to more optimistic shows. Count me in. As for the history, check out what they have to say about the role of fate or free will in the show, the gender and race dynamics, as well as their belief that too much of history is presented from the perspective of “rich white dudes.”  I was going to continue watching anyway, but the interview sold me even more. I’m ready to suspend my disbelief every Monday night to watch the show and have some cheesy fun.  I’m looking forward to that Lincoln assassination episode next week because I’m betting it’ll be another pop cultural hit on the Lost Cause. If so, expect some longer comments about the show by me. Let’s see how it goes.

It will probably prove to be much less entertaining television, but the VP debate is tonight. Kaine is a big history buff, so I’ll be interested to see if he makes any points or references based in history. Lets listen for it. Did you know that the first VP debate was 40 years ago? Time lets us now how it went down.

Today on her blog, Megan Kate Nelson passes along some interesting thoughts she has been having about how to structure research paper presentations at history conferences. It is based on the model of “TED Talks,” and would definitely be better than just reading a research paper to your audience. (I think the model could also be used effectively in the classroom.) I’m also glad to learn that she auditioned for a potential new show that A&E is putting together for the History Channel in which they are going to get some honest-to-goodness historians to talk about history and current events. I was a bit too intimidated to audition (for now I am sticking to a local sports radio show talking about high school and college football), but I think she has exactly the personality that might work on such a show.

Looks like the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture is being overwhelmed with ticket requests, and it is causing some problems with their new system. If you want to get into the facility anytime this year, you are out of luck.

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