“The Me You Can’t See” falls into the public-service category — what for a time, during the latter part of Winfrey’s daytime show, was called “broccoli TV” — using a mix of celebrities and ordinary folks to try removing the stigma from seeking help.
“There is no shame in this,” Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, says during a conversation with Winfrey that seeks to demystify therapy, while noting that Covid-19 has “magnified” the issues that people face. The chat includes his own testimonial about overcoming his family’s posture toward therapy and his need “to heal myself from the past.”
If “The Me You Can’t See” helps one person, this globe-spanning exercise was surely worth it. But strictly as a TV show, you’re not missing much if you don’t see it.
As for “1971,” once you get past the arbitrary title — the chosen year really stands in for about a six-year span — the mix of interviews and rare footage creates a trippy ride down memory lane for those who grew up with this music as the soundtrack to their lives.
Granted, stretching out over eight parts means playing a few too many of the hits. Yet when considering that encompasses everything from the Beatles breaking up to David Bowie coming to America to the deaths of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix — all at age 27 — the expansive format feels less unreasonable.
The real highlights, though, come in the rare clips, while highlighting the collision of mainstream pop culture with the risks being taken musically. That yields strange juxtapositions, like Sly Stone appearing higher than a kite on “The Dick Cavett Show,” and Elton John singing “Your Song” on Andy Williams’ show.
Perhaps foremost, “1971” reflects how music influenced the national agenda during that period, as exemplified by songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”
“I don’t think the music was a reflection of the times as much as the music also caused the times,” music producer Jimmy Iovine suggests, while Rolling Stone’s Robert Greenfield observes, “Your entire imaginative life came from the music you were listening to.”
Inevitably a bit scattered, “1971” recognizes an eclectic array of artists — from Alice Cooper to Carole King, the Rolling Stones and The Who to the establishment pushback of the Osmonds — taking deeper dives into a few.
“I don’t think you’ll see a creative burst like that musically ever again,” Elton John says.
Whether that’s true is open to debate, but a half-century later, we’re still listening to those songs, as well as still dealing with repercussions of the cultural and political forces that inspired them.
“The Me You Can’t See” and “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything” premiere May 21 on Apple TV+.
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