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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of February 1

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For Christmas this past year I received several books on and about Imagineers and Imagineering. I have spent the past month looking over them, examining them, thinking about them. They've influence my concept of the Sword in the Stone ride, influenced it in a good way (I hope). In the end though, they made me feel how I often wish I felt when contemplating the ride.

Sunday, February 1:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Prince of the Alps”. I've always wanted to be a prince. I've always thought I would be quite good at it. Actually, the Alps seems like the perfect place for me to start my little reign. They have chocolate there, and skiing, and other wonderful, wonderful things like a baby deer birthed by a red deer (the baby would be the prince the episode title is referring to).

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Classic – "Sense and Sensibility (Part One)." Do you remember back in the spring of 2008 when Masterpiece aired what they referred to as "The Complete Jane Austen?" Well, this originally aired then; they're not so much repeating that "Complete" thing, but they are re-airing this bit.

10:30 – 11:00PM

PBS Previews: We Shall Remain: American Experience. I always find it funny when PBS promos a future miniseries by airing, repeatedly, these half-hour deals. I understand the notion behind previewing something like this series – which explores the Native-American perspective on pivotal moments in U.S. history – but they air them so many times I wonder if some of the magic of the actual piece is lost.

 

Monday, February 2:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Dallas (Hour Two)." 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 – 10:00PM

The Polio Crusade: American Experience. Wow. Do you realize the Salk vaccine was first given over 50 years ago? It's amazing. It was the largest public health experiment in American history, and it was a huge, massive success. We eradicated polio, a disease which affected thousands and thousands of children. A vaccine was created (and then a second one), and we managed to eliminate a scourge. And yet, somehow, there's a group of folks in this country who still believe vaccines to be bad. Unbelievable. Watch and learn folks, watch and learn.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Forgotten Ellis Island. This documentary doesn't delve into the island as a whole, just the now-abandoned immigrant hospital. The hospital spanned 22 medical buildings and was, I'm told, this country's "first line of defense against contagious, often virulent disease." Take that, disease!

 

Tuesday, February 3:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “The Spy Factory.” The National Security Agency (or the NSA to you and me) is one of those fascinating things. They are, I like to think, shrouded in secrecy, in mystery; they are hidden in the shows. Well, Nova is apparently going to go and tell us all about them, bring the secrets into the light as it were. I bet they don't find out all the good stuff, like how the NSA controls the aliens that actually rule the world. Uh-oh, I think I said too much…

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – "My Father, My Brother, and Me." The journalist Dave Iverson has Parkinson's Disease. He was given the diagnosis in 2004, and his father and older brother had received the same news years earlier (though not, I imagine, on the same occasion). Iverson now tells his story, that of his family, and explores the disease too.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "Adjust your Color: The Truth About Petey Greene." Until reading the description of this show I had never heard of Petey Greene, but it turns out that he's a shock-jock (the description I have says he was "America's original shock-jock"). Don Cheadle totally knows who he is, though. Cheadle narrates this show and played Greene in the film Talk to Me.

 

Wednesday, February 4:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work – “The State Visit.” As a whole, the series takes an inside look at the British monarchy. Up tonight, the show delves into exactly how people here in the colonies deal with a visit from the Queen. It goes into preparations in the White House for a white tie dinner and an archeologist at Jamestown getting ready for the Queen's visit, among other things.

9:00 – 10:30PM

George Carlin: The Mark Twain Prize. Many a celebrity come together in this piece to honor the late, great, George Carlin, the 11th recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. On the guest list for the night are Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Garry Shandling, Lily Tomlin, Lewis Black, and others.

10:30 – 11:00PM

PBS Previews: We Shall Remain: American Experience. I always find it funny when PBS promos a future miniseries by airing, repeatedly, these half-hour deals. I understand the notion behind previewing something like this series – which explores the Native-American perspective on pivotal moments in U.S. history – but they air them so many times I wonder if some of the magic of the actual piece is lost.

 

Thursday, February 5:

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 Two)." 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 – "Umphrey's McGee." I can honestly say to you that I have no idea who Umphrey is, nor do I know anything about his (or her, but I think his) McGee. I know about Fibber's McGee (and Molly). I am told however that Umphrey's McGee is apparently really good with "progressive improvisation."

 

Friday, February 6:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4831. 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 #506. 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 #1243. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,243rd 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 Spy Factory.” The National Security Agency (or the NSA to you and me) is one of those fascinating things. They are, I like to think, shrouded in secrecy, in mystery; they are hidden in the shows. Well, Nova is apparently going to go and tell us all about them, bring the secrets into the light as it were. I bet they don't find out all the good stuff, like how the NSA controls the aliens that actually rule the world. Uh-oh, I think I said too much…

 

Saturday, February 7:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Drive-By Truckers/Ryan Bingham." I don't know, do you think it's better when truckers drive-by, or stop and chat? In the end, I imagine that it depends on exactly who the truckers are, when they travel on ice roads, and whether they pick up folks like Ryan Bingham on their way. Don't you?

 

You see, when I read books about Imagineers, about creating theme parks and rides, I end up thinking the same thought over and over. Okay, I end up thinking a bunch of thoughts, but I only wish to discuss one presently. They make me wish I could draw. I have conceptual artwork in my brain for the Sword in the Stone ride, but I can't – I just can't – get my ideas on paper. I wish I could, but I can't.

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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.