Entertainment One and Truemind released this week what is one of this year’s more standout documentaries in a piece titled Bee People. The presentation follows the work of Gregg McMahan aka “The Bee Guru” as he works to spread the word about the importance of backyard beekeeping. He explains through his various activities the importance of saving bees because they are still very much in danger even today. He uses a mix of education and bee rescues and relocation in his efforts to help bolster the bee population. He’s sort of the Billy The Exterminator (see who remembers that show) of the bee world. Staying on that tip, this is actually the central point of this documentary’s success. It’s more reality TV on DVD than documentary. Though there is some documentary element of sorts with the trivia segments that are thrown in. Another reason that audiences will enjoy this program is that being more of a reality TV style presentation than a documentary, it doesn’t come across as just another preachy, overly done presentations that paint a picture of doom and gloom. Rather it points out all the positives of bees and bee keeping and that anyone of any age can do it, even kids with proper guidance from experienced adults. The DVD’s bonus segment “Extracting Honey” only runs sixteen minutes. But it adds its own share of enjoyment to the whole presentation. It feels like a deleted scene, again adding to the presentation’s feel of being more of a reality show on DVD than an actual documentary. That’s not a bad thing, either. If anything, it serves to make this presentation even more enjoyable for audiences. It makes the presentation that much more enjoyable and worth checking out regardless of whether or not one is that much into the world of bee keeping. All three of the noted aspects of this presentation do their own part to make it a work that any viewer will appreciate in one way or another. And together, they make Bee People a “documentary” that will leave any viewer *ahem* buzzing about it in the end.
The core point of success in Bee People—its presentation in general—is also the most noticeable. The presentation is being marketed primarily as a documentary. But the reality of it is that it is anything but. If anything, it more resembles the likes of so much of the reality TV series currently dominating the television spectrum. The difference is that unlike those series in question, this piece is actually worth watch. It is so much more enjoyable than most of the reality series out there right now primarily because of its content. Audiences that might be familiar with A&E’s short-lived series Billy The Exterminator will make an almost instant correlation between the two series. Billy actually did handle some bee infestations in a couple episodes of his series. Gregg Mcmahan aka ‘The Bee Guru” is the star of this program. And he has much the same energy and personality as Billy The Exterminator. The only difference between the two is that Billy boasted a more outrageous outfit and handled more than just bees. Other than that, the similarity is nearly a mirror image. Maybe that’s why it made it so fun and easy for this critic to watch. Anyone else that is a fan of Billy The Exterminator will find themselves enjoying this program just as much. It’s a nice breath of fresh air both when compared to all the useless reality TV series out there today and so many other more pure documentaries out there, too.
Bee People stands out both when compared to the mass of reality shows across the television spectrum today and among the other, more pure documentaries that are out there right now. That sole factor makes this presentation well worth the watch by viewers of any age. Making the program even more enjoyable for viewers is it doens’t try to paint the picture of doom and gloom that so many documentaries out there paint. So many documentaries are in reality no more than overly preachy activist films. This piece doesn’t do that. It presents the perils that the world’s bee populations face. But upon doing so, it shows the concerted efforts being taken by average, everyday people in their efforts to help work with said populations. And even those people don’t try to preach to audiences. Add in the educational segments here and there, and what audiences get is a presentation that is more real than any reality TV series or any documentary film out there. Simply put, it’s more substance than schlep, making it even more enjoyable for audiences of all ages.
Bee People stands out among this year’s documentaries because it is a documentary that isn’t one. Its use of areality TV series format and its overall content both make it a surprisingly *ahem* sweet presentation (bad pun fully intended. It’s anything but preachy. And there’s no foul language at any one point, either. This all noted, there is still one more aspect of the presentation worth noting that makes it so fun. That last aspect is the DVD’s bonus deleted scene. The bonus deleted scene included with the documentary shows the actual process (albeit by a backyard beekeeper) of how honey is extracted from the honeycomb. It’s difficult to point out what exactly it is about this process that makes it so interesting. But it is just that interesting. And seeing an average person “harvesting” the honey in the heart of New York City is makes the process even more awe inspring. And that sense of awe combined with the program’s general content and its premise collectively make Bee People one of this year’s most underrated documentaries.
Entertainment One and Truemind have together offered up to viewers what is a standout presentation in Bee People. The film stands out as it isn’t what one thinks of in any way when one thinks of standard documentaries. From its general premise to its overall look and its bonus deleted scenes, this DVD will leave quite the good *taste in viewers’ mouths. and yes, those bad puns were fully intended, too. Bee People is available now on DVD in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Truemind’s website at http://disinfo.com/product/bee-people/. More information on this and other releases from Truemind is available online at http://www.truemind.tv. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.