Lin Manuel Miranda
There’s a lot of apathy and disdain toward successful celebrities and that’s a real shame. It’s easy to forget the sheer amount of work these men and women put into making it to the top and it’s only when you dive a little deeper into their history that you understand how difficult it is to make it to that pinnacle of excellence.
When you watch sprinters performing in the Olympics you only see 10 seconds of their life, not the hours of paint-staking practice that went into making that a reality. Roger Federer didn’t become an overnight sensation in tennis and various different filmmakers and high profile talk-show hosts didn’t just strike lucky – they worked their butt off to get there.
Dear… is the latest biographic documentary series that’s both inspirational and humbly relevant to today’s social climate. Across 10 episodes, Apple TV+’s documentary shines a light on different celebrities and important figures ranging from Spike Lee’s transformation of cinema to Oprah Winfrey’s incredibly difficult and emotionally charged journey to become one of America’s most prominent talk-show hosts.
Each of the episodes combine real letters and expository text that scribbles across the screen with relevant and incredibly touching stories that show just how much that particular celebrity or individual has made a difference in their life. Hearing how these men and women have been influenced to positively change their own circumstances is something we don’t see too often on the small screen, especially given the negativity toward celebrity culture, so it’s great that this is given a platform to shine.
As someone who spends every free moment away from critiquing obsessively reading and learning about various figureheads through history, seeing a visual representation of what people like Oprah has been through (having previous read about this in detail) is great despite it admittedly being a little light on detail given the 30 minute run-time.
If there’s one bizarre inclusion here though it comes from the Big Bird episode. Why Bird Bird? There are numerous different Sesame Street characters that have inspired kids and I can’t help but feel Apple would have done better if they included the actual creator of Sesame Street to hammer home the relevance and importance this show has had for kids.
It may not be the best documentary series of the year but Dear… is a decent biographical study nonetheless. Most of the figureheads explored are activists or involved in the empowering black movement that’s been sweeping across America and for that alone, this series is well worth watching.
Verdict - 8/10