Harley and the Davidsons (DVD) – Series Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Director:Ciarán Donnelly
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes (3 episodes)

Harley and the Davidsons (DVD) – Series Review

Site Score
7.6
Good: equally enlightening as it is fun to watch
Bad: Rendering issues
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Harley and the Davidsons is based upon events that have transpired in the past. It’s a ‘Discovery Channel’ series, and mostly those come either in the ‘entertainment’ variety or the ‘educational’ one. This documentary however doesn’t abide by the standard design sketch and has some liberties to make it more interesting to watch for people who like their facts laced with acting. The spider on the back of the DVD case usually indicates horror, but upon further inspection, the internet labels the show as a ‘drama’, which in all honesty is far closer to the truth.

Harley_Davidson_Logo

Harley Davidson riders usually have this cliché imagery that pops into everyone’s head when the bike’s brand is mentioned. It’s usually a rather large man in a leather sleeveless jacket with a greasy beard and equally greasy head of hair giving the cops a middle finger while making sure he has his tool belt strapped on to make sure he’s capable of repairing the vehicle should it break down. This is not how the show Harley and the Davidsons portrays the vehicle or the riders themselves at all. The story starts off with one of the Davidson brothers getting roughed up, and roughing up some bank goons in the process. Why would the bank be after Walter Davidson (Michiel Huisman)? Apparently the bank wants to buy his property –quite forcefully- for a railroad track. Not wanting to go to jail, he signs away his rights. “Robbery by fountain pen” as  he so eloquently puts it. Quite some miles away, his brother-Arthur Davidson (Bug Hall) is fumbling around with his friend Bill Harley (Robert Aramayo) to make a better motorcycle than the ones already on the market. They do however have a slight problem which is money. They write Walter a polite letter and seeing as he has no real other option, he joins in on the venture.

Events go fast in Harley and the Davidsons, which is a bit of a problem when the director takes liberties with the timeline. Not so much with the sequence of events, but with the actual passing of time. It’s unclear how much time passes between events and only once in the whole series –which is only three episodes- a date is mentioned. The series is probably aimed at either people who know all about this stuff or people who don’t really mind and just want to tune out their brain and have a fun series to watch. What the writer/director didn’t keep in mind is that some people aren’t in the know and would like a little more clarity on the time and timing of events. Some races that would only take up a max of a couple of hours take longer to transpire in the series than the jumps of several months the series takes every now and then. The directors probably didn’t want to take away from the momentum of the series, slowing it down with information that the viewer has to process, but that’s usually the point of a documentary.

The acting is really rather decent, with Harley and the Davidsons being a documentary, there are quite some poignant moments. Where other movies or series would benefit from keeping the emotional strain low, by not stretching out the moments into oblivion, this series does quite the opposite, it gives the viewer little or no option to soak it in as they are immediately bombarded with a new set of events. It’s like the budget was too small for the grandiose design the director had in mind. This series should have been five or six episodes with every episode being as long as it is now, it would give the director more leeway to play with the acting skills of the cast and show off some stylistic choices.

Discovery Channel

The music that plays fits perfectly and the theme song is catchy as the flu. The only annoyance is the fact that the quality of the visuals isn’t really all that decent, if you are looking on a large screen, the image is quite pixillated and the rendering process must have been problematic as even in something as static as a series there are framerate issues.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a binge watch worthy series that doesn’t require a metric tonne of grey matter to enjoy than Harley and the Davidsons is up your alley. This series is also great if you are a fan and want to know if your information is either up to snuff or if you can catch the liberties the writers have taken with the information at hand. If you go in thinking that this series will be a hardy factual thing then it’s best to steer clear from this as you’ll come out of it highly disappointed.

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