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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of January 4

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As you may recall, last week I pointed out to you the issue with my question about how to get you to read these opening and closing paragraphs.  I realized after asking the question that I asked the question in the section of the piece you don't read.  And, if you don't read about it you can never learn about the greatness that is The Sword in the Stone ride.  It's a tricky one this conundrum, it's a tricky one.

Sunday, January 4:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "The Gorilla King.”  Apparently the king of the mountain gorillas of Rwanda is named Titus. I thought the gorilla king was named Kong, or, at the very least, Mighty Joe Young. I like the notion of it being Kong more, though. Apparently that's all hogwash; it's this Titus fellow who is one of only 700.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Classic – "Tess of the D'Urbervilles." Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) stars in this new adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel.  I guess that would make her Tess.  Good for Gemma, I love it when a Bond girl ends up in another big role.  And the title role in Tess of the D'Urbervilles is a big role.  Tonight is part one of two.

Monday, January 5:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Palm Springs (Hour One)."  Really?  The Antiques Roadshow is going to Palm Springs?  Are they going to be looking at objects or people?  Are they going to be dating paintings or counting artificial hips?  Do you figure they had to start earlier in the day so that everyone could be gone by the time the Early Bird dinner special rolled around?  Oh come on, lighten up, these are the jokes people.

9:00 – 11:00PM

The Story of India – "Beginnings/The Power of Ideas."  Michael Woods heads on a journey – and takes us along – through the history of the subcontinent.  He examines the people, the place, and the culture.  The first episode this evening deals with the first migrations to the subcontinent and the second discusses the years after 500 BC, aka "the Age of the Buddha."

Tuesday, January 6:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “Arctic Passage ‘Prisoners of the Ice.’” All those British folks think they're so wonderful, don’t they? With their smart ties, worsted suits, their accents and their Cockney rhyming slang (I’ll send you down the apples and pears head first if you don’t watch it, that I promise). This should take them down a notch — it seems as though in 1845 two Royal Navy ships set off to uncover some elusive Arctic route to somewhere. Rather than succeeding, they resorted to murder and cannibalism. Either that or they were poisoned. Nova is on the case. 

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline - "The Old Man the Storm."  Six months after Hurricane Katrina a producer, June Cross, ran into Herbert Gettridge in the Lower Ninth Ward.  Gettridge, at the time, was 82.  82.  He was also rebuilding his house.  Cross spent two years documenting Gettridge's efforts, and this Frontline is the result

10:00 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – "Helvetica."  It's everywhere.  It's positively everywhere.  Try to escape it, you can't.  I think Microsoft must have bucked the trend when they didn't factory default Word to Helvetica.  How did Helvetica come about?  What about other popular fonts? 

Wednesday, January 7:

8:00 – 10:30PM

Great Performances – "Cyrano de Bergerac." Kevin Kline stars as the famed big-nose Cyrano de Bergerac in this filmed version of the new, limited engagement Broadway run.  Also treading the boards in this are Jennifer Garner and Daniel Sunjata.  And I say "why not?  Why not watch this and the great Kevin Kline?"

10:30 – 11:00PM

From the Top at Carnegie Hall Special Edition – "Rhythm and Strings."  Kids these days, they think they can run the world.  At the very least, they think that they can play musical instruments.  Some of them certainly can, particularly Joshua Jones, Anna Lee, Alice Burla, and Taeguk Mun.  Trust me.  Watch and you'll find out.

Thursday, January 8:

8:00 – 9:00PM

The This Old House Hour - Episode TBA. It’s This Old House and Ask This Old House. It’s like maintenance… for your home. Wait, no, that’s exactly what it is. That doesn’t mean it’s not awesome though. Seriously, The This Old House Hour is one of the finest home improvement hours on PBS. No joke.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Palm Springs (Hour One)."  Really?  The Antiques Roadshow is going to Palm Springs?  Are they going to be looking at objects or people?  Are they going to be dating paintings or counting artificial hips?  Do you figure they had to start earlier in the day so that everyone could be gone by the time the Early Bird dinner special rolled around?  Oh come on, lighten up, these are the jokes people.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – "Counting Crows:  Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings."  Okay, so if this episode gives the name of a band and the name of the band's fifth studio release you can guess what the show features, right?  You can't?  Really?  Are you sure, because I figure that if you really, really tried, you could work it out.

Friday, January 9:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4827. Another whole week has gone by and good old Gwen Ifill and National Journal are here to fill us in. For the record, I like to pretend the National Journal is a sidekick, like Robin to Batman, Starsky to Hutch, or chocolate sauce to chocolate ice cream.

8:30 – 9:30PM

NOW on PBS #502.  It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly newsmagazine. It looks at issues facing our democracy. The show is hosted by David Brancaccio. And, even better, they still send me e-mails (I think that makes me cool and them nice). Thanks, Now, you guys are awesome!

9:00 – 10:00PM

Bill Moyers Journal #1239.  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,239th journal (not really, but I’m not going to explain to you the way in which TV shows are numbered at this point in time; maybe later if you’re nice). He’s a good journalist so I assume this will be good journalism (at least the odds are it will be).

10:00 – 11:00PM

How Art Made the World – "To Death and Back."  This is the fourth part of a five part series which focuses on some of the biggest turning points in the history of the art world.  It tries to examine how these moments help define how we see the world today. 

Saturday, January 10:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Paolo Nutini/Grupo Fantasma."  The U.K. sensation and Austin's own Grupo Fantasma do their thing.  Their "thing" is playing music.  One plays soulful pop, the other high-energy Latin funk.  I don't want to spoil it and tell you who does what. 

I was about to ask you exactly what I should do about asking the question in a silly way.  Of course, I was going to ask the question in the same foolish way I did last time.  Maybe I'm just too tired to think about it straight, maybe I've had just a little too much Christmas Cheer.  I'm going to work this all out, you do the same.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
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