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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of May 24

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So, there you are, watching the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ride unfold on the screen in front of you. You’re strapped in to a chair as the theater you’re sitting in moves to give the impression that you’re speeding along like a madman. Of course, you’re not a madman… no, the madman is Zaphod Beeblebrox, he’s right there in front of you and he is not happy.

Sunday, May 24:

8:00 – 9:30PM

National Memorial Day Concert. Another year passes and PBS airs another Memorial Day Concert. Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are hosting this time out (and maybe last time out too). I’m not bored by it, don’t get me wrong, I like that it’s the same thing year after year. It’s a memorial, after all.

9:30 – 10:00PM

PBS Previews: National Parks. Soon, but not yet, PBS will airing a Ken Burns special all about our national parks. Apparently he thinks they were one of America’s best ideas. I know that because “America’s Best Idea” is the subtitle for the series. I’m like Sherlock Holmes.

10:30PM – 12:00AM

National Memorial Day Concert. Another year passes and PBS airs another Memorial Day Concert. Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna are hosting this time out (and maybe last time out too). I’m not bored by it, don’t get me wrong, I like that it’s the same thing year after year. It’s a memorial, after all.

 

Monday, May 25:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Hartford (Hour Three)". Connecticut – bastion of all that is old and posh, or at least most that is old and posh… okay, some that is old and posh, but the posh is very, very posh. And, why not do it in Hartford. Hartford has television. People like Hartford. It’s no Westport or Greenwich, but people like it.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – "Buffalo Bill." Hey, Buffalo Bill, who did you kill, Buffalo Bill? Yes, I know that's not right, but I like it anyway. It was either that or some of Annie Get Your Gun, and I chose to alter a Beatles song. Honestly though, that Buffalo Bill guy did a lot of things throughout his life, watch and find out.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Hallowed Grounds. Outside of the United States there are 22 World War I and II American military cemeteries. They are all over the world, from Europe to the Philippines to Tunisia. This hour will examine those cemeteries, where they are, the servicemen who are there, and how they passed away.

Tuesday, May 26:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “Ocean Animal Emergency." As you know, the water in some parts of the ocean is getting warmer. That means that some of the animals that live in said waters are in trouble. Thank goodness for Dr. Frances Gulland, a San Francisco vet. Gulland has made it her job to save some of these at-risk animals in the Pacific.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline - TBA

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "Steal a Pencil for Me." So there’s Jack. Jack is married to Manja. Jack is in love with Ina. Jack, Manja, and Ina somehow all ended up in the same barracks in a concentration camp. Jack and Ina wrote love letters to each other, which apparently helped them survive. I wonder what it would have done to Manja.

 

Wednesday, May 27:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Great Performances – “In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams.” Learn all about the new Broadway show which won five Tony Awards following its Broadway debut in 2008. PBS is there to take you inside the show and to give you a good look at the creative team behind it. Watch, learn, enjoy.

9:00 – 10:30PM

American Masters – "Hollywood Chinese." How have Chinese and Chinese-Americans been portrayed in film? How have they helped produced film? How has said portrayal and production changed through the years? This documentary aims to examine those very questions and more – it even has actors, writers, and directors sit down to talk about it.

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.

Thursday, May 28:

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 – “Hartford (Hour Three).” Connecticut – bastion of all that is old and posh, or at least most that is old and posh… okay, some that is old and posh, but the posh is very, very posh. And, why not do it in Hartford. Hartford has television. People like Hartford. It’s no Westport or Greenwich, but people like it.

10:00 – 10:30PM

PBS Previews: National Parks. Soon, but not yet, PBS will airing a Ken Burns special all about our national parks. Apparently he thinks they were one of America’s best ideas. I know that because “America’s Best Idea” is the subtitle for the series. I’m like Sherlock Holmes.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Ribbon of Sand. Things change. It's the way of the world. It just happens. Things change. Get used to it. In this documentary Meryl Streep tells us all about how things change off the coast of North Carolina, in North Carolina's Outer Banks, to be specific. The sand shifts, the beautiful islands that exist now may not exist in the future. Things change.

Friday, May 29:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4847. 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 #522. 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 #1307. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,307th 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

Great Performances – “In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams.” Learn all about the new Broadway show which won five Tony Awards following its Broadway debut in 2008. PBS is there to take you inside the show and to give you a good look at the creative team behind it. Watch, learn, enjoy.

Saturday, May 30:

11:00P M – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Sufjan Stevens/Calexico”. I read that Sufjan Stevens is a "critical darling and indie rock sensation." I also read that Calexico "dazzles with a unique blend of traditional songcraft and southwestern roots music." To me, that sounds a lot like people talking about the hints of chocolate, lime, and ginger that might appear in wine.

 

Zaphod wants us dead, what with us being on his private stolen ship. But, being Zaphod, he can’t just kill us, no, he has to do it in interesting and new ways. Exit Zaphod from the theater as he introduces us to our manner of death… a lovely reading of some Vogon poetry, courtesy of the commander of the fleet sent to destroy Earth.

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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.