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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of June 7

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I actually don't really want to spend a lot of time on the specifics of what we're going to witness on the Heart of Gold's viewscreen during the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ride.  I think that it's actually a pretty easy story to translate from its previous forms into this one.  So, in future weeks we'll discuss some bigger (and smaller) picture elements, but I can't really leave us with Vogons, can I?

 

Sunday, June 7:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Underdogs".  Rather than going into some huge thing about the famed cartoon character or make making some pseudo-unnecessary, I'm going to just give the short listing information I have for this show verbatim – "Extreme doggie makeover!"  I really don't have to say anything else, do I?   

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Foyle's War, Series V – Broken Souls." This is it for our good friend Christopher Foyle, at least the bits that relate to World War II. Series V of Foyle's War feature the end of the war and, only very briefly, the start of the peace. But will Foyle finally find piece? Watch and see.

10:30 – 11:00PM

From the Top at Carnegie Hall Special Edition – "Star Quality."  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 Ji-Yong Kim and Alice Ivy-Pemberton.  Trust me.  Watch and you'll find out.

 

Monday, June 8:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Bismarck (Hour Two).  I'm going to level with you, I know very little about Bismarck, North Dakota. I know very little about the Dakotas in general. I've driven across the country twice, once down south and once more middle/northish, but I never made it to either Dakota. I wanted to, what with Mt. Rushmore being in one of the Dakotas, but I never got there. The Antiques Roadshow, however, did.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – “The Living Weapon”.  All about the awesomeness that is germ warfare, and our development thereof in the early 1940s and beyond.  Okay, maybe “awesome” isn’t the right word, maybe “ridonkulous destructive power” is.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Illicit: The Dark Trade. The listing description I have here states, "the world economy is being derailed by new networks of illicit traders." You would think they were talking about the subprime lenders, but they're not; they're talking about black market goods. The film is based on the bestseller by Moises Naim and looks into the trade.

 

Tuesday, June 9:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Live From Lincoln Center – “Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble." You have to hope it doesn't rain on a day like this, Yo-Yo ma and the Silk Road Ensemble are going to be playing outside at the Center's Damrosch Park bandshell.  Oh sure, if it rains they'll stay dry (unless it's one of those sideways rains), but think of the audience, how can the rock out to the master cellist if it's raining?

9:30 – 10:30PM

Frontline – “The Tank Man.” Now this is something I’m truly interested in, no joke. This episode goes in search of the Chinese man who stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square back in 1989. I’ll give you that we’re years later at this point, but I’m still intrigued.

10:30PM – 12:00AM

Independent Lens – “The Order of Myths/Bi-Racial Hair.”  Rather than one longer episode, this week we'll be getting two shorter ones.  The first looks at Mardi Gras in terms of race and the second is a "satirical look" at the issues African Americans of mixed ethnic backgrounds face.

 

Wednesday, June 10:

8:00 – 9:00PM

The Natural History of the Chicken. Listen, I tried not to do make this joke, I really did.  I wrote this paragraph over and over and over again and every time I decided that I had to do a version of this joke.  So, here it is, in its least offensive form: If they put the band back together and make another episode on the natural history of the egg, will it be a sequel or a prequel?

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Masters – "Neil Young: Don't be Denied."  Neil Young traces the musical journey of Neil Young.  Young starts with Young's rise in the '60s, continues with Young's solo artist times in the '70s and then moves into Young's '80s New Wave what-not.  Young on Young, even if he's getting old.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Ferrets: The Pursuit of Excellence. Which do you think is a better choice: this week’s Ferrets: The Pursuit of Excellence or Synchronized Swimming: The Pursuit of Excellence? (Please insert your own “actually I’m holding out for Such-and-Such: The Pursuit of Excellence joke here — there are a number of really great choices that I have off the top of my head, but I’m sure I’m missing some outstanding ones, feel free to comment below.)

 

Thursday, June 11:

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 “Bismarck (Hour Two).  I'm going to level with you, I know very little about Bismarck, North Dakota. I know very little about the Dakotas in general. I've driven across the country twice, once down south and once more middle/northish, but I never made it to either Dakota. I wanted to, what with Mt. Rushmore being in one of the Dakotas, but I never got there. The Antiques Roadshow, however, did.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Out from the Sands:  The Story of Irene Joliot-Curie and Frederic Joliot-Curie.  Marie Curie had children.  Her eldest she named Irene.  Irene married Frederic.  Irene and Frederic had their own scientific discoveries.  Said discoveries revolved around the possibility of creating new atoms and sources of radioactive radiation.  Seriously.

 

Friday, June 12:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4849. 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 #524.  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 #1309.  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,309th 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

Inside – “FIFA Club Championships.”  Once year the best soccer clubs in the world battle it out to be deemed the best.  It's a great sadness of mine that this nation doesn't care about such things, soccer is an incredibly fun and enjoyable sport.  Sure, the stories in this particular episode are a tad dated as it originally aired in 2007, but the notions are the same.

 

Saturday, June 13:

11:00P M – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Norah Jones". She's a singer. She's a songwriter. She's just plain awesome. You like her. I like her. Austin City Limits likes her, and that's why she's back again. You know you want to hear her sing. I certainly do.

 

Stuck listening to Vogon poetry, how do we get out of it?  Well, not in the same way as it's ever been done before.  No, in this case we're just listening (and watching) on the viewscreen, not physically present.  It is Ford prefect who save us this time, Ford who appears in the balcony of the ship (animatronic seems like the right way to go here, perhaps that's the right way to do Zaphod too).  Ford muffles the speaker system to save us.  How?  With a towel, of course.  Zaphod, being somewhat schizophrenic is easily convinced by Ford that we can help Zaphod and don't need to die.  And so, safely ensconced in the Heart of Gold, we're on our way.

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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.