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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of June 14

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If we're done with the specifics of the Hitchhiker's ride – and I do believe we've dealt enough with the specifics of the story that we all know and love – we really need to deal with the big picture, the overall idea.  What is it?  What's our theme?  What are we looking at?  How are we going to put it together?

 

Sunday, June 14:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Killers in Eden."  Remember Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home?  That's the one with the whales.  Well, this is like that except totally different.  In Australia killer whales and whalers are joining forces to hunt for migrating baleen whales.  I imagine they're doing that to save them from the crew of the Enterprise (even though they weren't on the Enterprise in that one). 

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Foyle's War, Series V – All Clear." 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 – "Music is Where the Heart is."  Well, I guess if the heart is the drum then that's very true.  Then music wouldn't only be where the heart is, it would be the heart.  I guess if your heart were on a stage where songs are playing the saying would be true again.  Thank goodness all musicians have hearts (literally speaking, of course).

 

Monday, June 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Bismarck (Hour Three)."  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 – "Roberto Clemente." Speaking of baseball (you don't know, we may have been), here's a tale about Roberto Clemente. He was a baseball player, but – and very importantly – he was also a humanitarian. He was a good guy who fought against discrimination and for justice. Plus, there's the whole baseball thing, too.

10:00 – 11:00PM

America at a Crossroads – "Mosque in Morgantown."  A WSJ reporter, a Muslim, and a friend of Daniel Pearl all in one returned to her hometown in West Virginia after her Pakistani would-be husband ditched her… while she was pregnant.  Sure, that was a lot to deal with, but her problems didn't end there, no, in her hometown she found out that her mosque had been taken over by extremists.  What did she do?  Just you wait and see.

 

Tuesday, June 16:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova  – “Bone Diggers”. I’m just oh-so-excited for this program.  Really.  There’s megafauna and Thylacoleo carnifex beneath the Nullarbor Plain.  Megafauna and Thylacoleo carnifex beneath the Nullarbor Plain!  Do you understand what I’m saying to you?  Yeah, I don’t either.  

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “Breaking the Bank.”  Billions.  We've given banks billions and billions of dollars.  But, how did they lose billions and billions of dollars?  What happened?  How did they possible mess up that badly?  How did they lose so much so quickly?  Why can't I get, let's say, a tenth of a percent of what the banks got?

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – “Ask Not.”  We've all heard it, "don't ask, don't tell."  It's just one of those ridiculous policies that has come about when people didn't want to step up and make the right decision.  What were the political battles that led to the non-decision, decision?

 

Wednesday, June 17:

8:00 – 10:30PM

Great Performance – "'Chess' in Concert."  Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, and Josh Groban sing their hearts out in this revival of the Benny Andersson Bjorn Ulvaeus musical.  They teamed up with Tim Rice for the musical, and it has the classic "One Night in Bangkok" in it.  What more could you possible need?  Fine, the revival is in London.  How's that?

10:30 – 11:00PM

From the Top at Carnegie Hall: Special Edition – "Music is Where the Heart is."  Well, I guess if the heart is the drum then that's very true.  Then music wouldn't only be where the heart is, it would be the heart.  I guess if your heart were on a stage where songs are playing the saying would be true again.  Thank goodness all musicians have hearts (literally speaking, of course).

 

Thursday, June 18:

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 Three)."  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

Soundstage – "Jackson Browne."  Gonna sell all me Bob Marley records, gonna get me some Jackson Browne.  Who doesn't like Weird Al?  Perhaps Jackson Browne fans, although I don't know why you can't like them both.  I just gave you a little Weird Al, and now Soundstage can give you some Jackson Browne.

 

Friday, June 19:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4850. 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 #525.  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 #1310.  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,310th 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 – "Speed Week.”  Out in those salt flats of Bonneville thousands of people come to see the folks from Top Gear.  Okay, maybe that's not true, but the folks from Top Gear were there once.  Sure, they weren't there the year this was filmed, but they were there, and that should be enough.

 

Saturday, June 20:

11:00P M – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Bettye LaVette/Pinetop Perkins".  I'll tell you this right now, I don't think that this show has ever had two people with finer names on the show.  LaVette is an R&B vet, and Pinetop is a pianist.  But, as I say, far more important than what they do (depending on who you are anyway), is their names…Pinetop.  I love it.

 

Those are some big questions I gave up there, aren't they?  I don't want to make a big deal about this being a marketable ride, but I really do believe that it is marketable.  There's a built-in audience, and I think it can easily attract people as well.  And, I'm not afraid to admit this, they could sell towels in the store… towels!  How fun would that be?

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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.