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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of January 25

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Okay, new idea in regards to The Sword in the Stone ride.  I know I talked about putting the discussion on hold, but I think you're going to love it.  No, really, if you hear me out, I'm pretty sure that you're really going to enjoy the idea.  Listen, I'm just asking you to pay attention for a few short paragraphs, hear what I have to say, and then decide for yourself as to whether it was worth your time or not.  Deal?  Good.

 

Sunday, January 25:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Is Thank Skunk?”  Do you smell what a rock has cooking?  Oh wait, that's not a rock, it's not even The Rock, it's a skunk, and it's downright stinky.  I certainly wouldn't follow one of them around, however, the nice cameramen here are doing just that.  So are a bunch of a researchers.  I wonder if they took communal tomato juice baths every evening in order to save money.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Masterpiece Classic – "Wuthering Heights."  Wuthering it's cold, Wuthering it's hot, we'll have Wuthering, Wuthering or not.  In this case the cool cat that's not Garfield is portrayed by Tom Hardy, and newcomer Charlotte Riley is Cathy.  Part two of two airs tonight.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Égalité for All:  Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution.  Do you realize that the Haitian Revolution is the only successful slave insurrection in history?  Well, even if you don't realize it, it was.  They looked at the ideas behind the French Revolution and built upon it.  It made Toussaint Louverture an incredibly famous man.  Watch and learn, watch and learn.

 

Monday, January 26:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Dallas (Hour One)."  I wonder if people will be bringing cans of oil from the 1950s to the Roadshow.  I could see that.  Maybe Miss Ellie will even show up.  Maybe she'll bring the gun that shot J.R.  Maybe someone will bring a baseball from that game the Texas Rangers won that one time, you remember, I think it happened back in 1993.

9:00 – 11:00PM

The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer.  Oppenheimer helped create one of the most destructive things in the history of the world.  He was lauded for his accomplishment, right up until he was brandished a Communist sympathizer.  At that point people like him a lot less.  This piece is made up of a Campbell Scott narration, interviews with various folks and dramatic re-creations featuring David Strathairn as Oppenheimer.  I hope they filmed new stuff rather than just inserting footage from Day One (where Strathairn played Oppenheimer).

 

Tuesday, January 27:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “The Incredible Journey of Butterflies.”  Now, here's something you're going to want an HDTV for.  This entire episode is shot in high definition and explores the lives of Monarch butterflies.  We used to keep Monarch butterflies back in kindergarten.  Well, they weren't butterflies when we started, merely caterpillars, but they were butterflies by the time we finished.  Ever since I've had a fascination with them.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline/World – "Getting Out of Gitmo."  Some men from rural China – several dozen of them – were imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.  A few years later some of them were released… in Albania.  Seventeen however are still imprisoned in Cuba (or that little bit of Cuba that's not Cuba because we are using it for our own nefarious purposes).  Learn all about their plight.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "The Atom Smashers." Fermilab – it's where they smash atoms together at really, really high speeds. They've been looking for the Higgs boson particle. It's their dream, it's their desire, it's what they do. Now you can watch what takes place over the course of 15 months at Fermilab.

 

Wednesday, January 28:

8:00 – 10:00PM & 10:00PM – 12:00AM

Make 'em Laugh:  The Funny Business of America – "Wiseguys and Smart-Alecks:  Never Give a Sucker an Even Break/Satire and Parody:  Sock it to Me?"  Herein lie two episodes of a six-part PBS miniseries hosted by Billy Crystal and narrated by Amy Sedaris.  The first hour this week delves into… oh wait, it's already in the title of the episode.  The second episode is all about the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate, at least in part.

Thursday, January 29:

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 – "Dallas (Hour One)."  I wonder if people will be bringing cans of oil from the 1950s to the Roadshow.  I could see that.  Maybe Miss Ellie will even show up.  Maybe she'll bring the gun that shot J.R.  Maybe someone will bring a baseball from that game the Texas Rangers won that one time, you remember, I think it happened back in 1993.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – "B.B. King."  It's like the man said, "nobody gets out of here without singing the blues."  Okay, I'm not saying King said it, but you just know that anyone who gets on the stage with King here won't be getting out of there without singing the blues.  Just ask Terrence Howard, Solange, and Richie Sambora, all of whom appear.

 

Friday, January 30:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4830. 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 #505.  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 #1242.  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,242nd 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).

10:00 – 11:00PM

Nova - “The Incredible Journey of Butterflies.”  Now, here's something you're going to want an HDTV for.  This entire episode is shot in high definition and explores the lives of Monarch butterflies.  We used to keep Monarch butterflies back in kindergarten.  Well, they weren't butterflies when we started, merely caterpillars, but they were butterflies by the time we finished.  Ever since I've had a fascination with them.

 

Saturday, January 31:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Nick Lowe/The Swell Season:  Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova."  If you ask me, and I assume you do, the "swell season" just ended about a month ago.  I'm not saying that Oscar-winners Hansard and Irglova aren't swell too, I'm just saying that for me, the swell season is Christmas time and the ever-popular National Forget Your Family, Love Your Television Day.

 

In order to promote the ever-growing popularity of The Sword in the Stone ride, I'm thinking that we need a pledge drive.  You know, like one of PBS's pledge drives.  We can interrupt programming whenever we feel it, have people manning phone lines, and take donations to support the cause.  I don't quite know yet what the donations will be used for, perhaps to send letter after letter to Disney to tell them they ought to consider building the ride.

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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.