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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of February 15

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What with my terrible inability to draw and my not being a "computer ace," I'm not quite sure how to add to more description of the Sword in the Stone ride. Sadly, odds are that I should have taken "computer ace" or drawing classes in college; unfortunately, I did not. I tried to take a photography class once, but unfortunately it was over-subscribed and the teacher booted me out. Not that a photography would help me in this quest.

Sunday, February 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Why We Love Cats and Dogs.” That's an awfully presumptuous episode title, don't you think? As far as I'm concerned, "we" do not love cats and dogs, "we" simply don't. "We" like dogs, "we" like dogs a lot, an awful lot, but "we" can do without cats. I wonder if the animal behaviorists herein can explain why that is.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Classic – "Oliver Twist (Part One)." They're doing it again, or, if you prefer, they're doing it "more." Laura Linney hosts the tale of young Oliver, and Oliver is played by William Miller. And, the show even has Timothy Spall as Fagin. I like Spall, you probably do too if you recognize the name (you'll certainly recognize the face).

10:30 – 11:00PM

American Stamps. Have you ever wondered exactly how they make a stamp – the hours and hours it takes to think about what the stamp should look like, to actually make it look like the conception, and then to mass produce them? Frankly, I haven't. I've wondered why the post office can't seem to get an envelope with a stamp on it to my address with any consistency or regularity, but I haven't wondered about the stamps themselves.

 

Monday, February 16:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Wichita (Hour One)." Kansas – Auntie Em, girls named Dorothy, and dogs named Toto. It all makes me wonder if we'll be seeing something from Oz (not Australia, the real Oz) here in Wichita. Who knows, perhaps there'll be some shoes that removed themselves from a witch when her legs shriveled up. The only question is if the shoes will be ruby or silver. Me, I'm going with William Jennings Bryan.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – "The Lobotomist". The New York Times - yes, that New York Times – hailed the lobotomy as a "surgery of the soul." Turn out that they may have made a mistake. A mistake was also made by Walter J. Freeman, who helped make the surgery popular (albeit for a short period of time). Learn more about Dr. Freeman and his surgery here.

10:00 – 11:30PM

Simon Schama's Rough Crossing. The British offered freedom to slaves who served them at the end of the American Revolution. A group of them first resettled in Nova Scotia and then in Sierra Leone. It didn't go very well; neither Nova Scotia nor Sierra Leone turned out to be great locations for them.

 

Tuesday, February 17:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – "The Four Winged Dinosaur." With this episode I have to recommend that you open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur. Oh, never mind, these dinosaurs have wings, they don't walk. Using state of the art animation, Nova examines feathered dinosaurs, including the microraptor.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline - “Inside the Meltdown.” As of this writing the description is TBA, but I do imagine it has to do with the collapse of our financial system. Or, more rightly what was our financial system as we've kind of altered it all in light of the current economic woes.

10:00 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – “Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life”. Strayhorn was Duke Ellington’s co-composer. He was also a gay man living in a time when that was far less acceptable. This is his story.

 

Wednesday, February 18:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work – “Headquarters.” As a whole, the series takes an inside look at the British monarchy. Up tonight, just one single episode, "Headquarters." It examines all the fancy bits and pieces of Buckingham Palace and the visit of Ghana's President Kufour.

9:00 – 11:00PM

American Masters – "Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About." Robbins was a director/choreographer. In 1953 however he buckled, he named names to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He did great work, but his testimony before HUAC may have tainted his entire legacy.

 

Thursday, February 19:

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 – "Wichita (Hour One)." Kansas – Auntie Em, girls named Dorothy, and dogs named Toto. It all makes me wonder if we'll be seeing something from Oz (not Australia, the real Oz) here in Wichita. Who knows, perhaps there'll be some shoes that removed themselves from a witch when her legs shriveled up. The only question is if the shoes will be ruby or silver. Me, I'm going with William Jennings Bryan.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – "Stevie Nicks, Part 1". It's one part of a special two-parter this week on Soundstage, and, as the title may have given away, it focuses on Stevie Nicks. She sings some Fleetwood Mac stuff, she hopefully sings "Stand Back" and, I presume, a bunch of other things. She'll even do a little Dave Matthews Band.

 

Friday, February 20:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4833. 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 – 9:00PM

NOW on PBS #508. 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 #1245. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,245th 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

History Detectives. This show may be the most fascinating show ever, it really may, but its title leave a lot to be desired. Seriously, aren't all historians more or less detectives? The title simply isn't descriptive or exciting enough. I much prefer a title like Josh Lasser, You’ve Been Hired as an Imagineer.

 

Saturday, February 21:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Kings of Leon/Rory Erickson". I wonder if Rory Erickson is royalty of some sort. Perhaps he's a Duke of some sort. Maybe he's the Duke of Earl traveling under a stage name. Normally I wouldn't think such a thing, but why would the Kings of Leon agree to work with a regular individual? Surely they would want to work with royalty.

 

What then? How to make the Sword in the Stone ride more vivid to you, the reader? If only I could sculpt in mashed potatoes. I think that if I could sculpt with mashed potatoes then I could really fully depict my notions for the ride. If only Francois Truffaut were here, he could help.

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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.