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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of August 30

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As it turns out, I was in Napa, not Sonoma.  I was definitely in Napa last weekend.  I've returned, and, I'm told that I've even done a balloon ride that required me to be in the balloon at 5:30 in the morning on Sunday.  5:30.  On Sunday.  Seriously.  I have a young child and I still didn't know that there was a 5:30 in the morning on Sundays.  I thought they banned it.  Of course, none of this has happened yet… sort of.

 

Sunday, August 30:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “The Queen of Trees.” I don’t know what, or who, exactly the queen is. However, I’m betting it’s a wasp and that this whole deal has to do with co-evolution. I wonder if that makes a tree the queen of wasps a tree. Or maybe the queen of people apple pie, and the queen of apple pie buttery goodness and then the queen of buttery goodness people. It’s a quandary.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Inspector Lewis, Series II – And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea."  For those of you not steeped in British police drama culture, "Inspector Lewis" is a spinoff off of "Inspector Morse."  For his series, Lewis heads to Oxford to solve crimes (this time about stolen rare books… and murder).  I'll certainly be watching (or will have watched it already depending on how things work out).

 10:30 – 11:00PM

American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh. Wow, this guy's name is Art and he makes art. Art's an artist. He's an artsy Art. He photographed panoramic landscapes (hence that whole horizons thing in the title). I'm told that he used a 12×20 inch camera. Can you imagine? That's a monstrously big thing, it's too bad they didn't have digital back then.

 

Monday, August 31:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Tucson (Hour One)”. The Roadshow has gone west, landing smack dab in the middle of Tucson. It would be better if they were in Winslow, so that they could be standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, it’d be such a fine sight to see.  Take it easy, don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.

9:00 – 10:00PM

History Detectives. They’re back again! Those History Detectives are going to be puzzling out clues, working the scene of the crime, and hoping against hope to solve that greatest mystery of them all: how did Fred Flintstone manage to run fast enough that his big, heavy car started to move? Seriously now, that’s a question about history and one I feel ought to be answered sooner rather than later.

10:00 – 11:30PM

Great Performances – "Herbert von Karajan: Beauty as I See it."  Had he lived that long, von Karajan would have turned 100 in 2008.  He was a conductor and led the Berlin Philharmonic for 35 years.  The description I have says that he was a man ahead of his time.  This film was produced on his centenary and examines his life and career.

 

Tuesday, September 1:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – "Is There Life on Mars?"  You know, I wouldn't be surprised if there was.  I'm one of those people who figure it highly unlikely that we're the only "intelligent" form of life in this universe.  Maybe it's not on Mars though.  Spirit and Opportunity and even Phoenix have taken a gander, and tonight you can find out some of what they learn.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Nova scienceNOW – "Episode 407."  ScienceNOW is the newest addition to the Nova family and is currently in its fourth season. Episodes in this series look at a variety of topics over the course of a single episode instead of just one thing for the whole hour.  Tonight you've got, amongst other things, an examination of how exactly sleep strengthens memories.

10:00 – 11:00PM  

P.O.V. – "Ella Es el Matador (She Is the Matador)."  See, this episode title is just a lie.  It's actually about two different women matadors… perhaps the problem then is just in the translation, I'll admit to my Spanish being a bit rusty.  Anyways, the matadors are Mari Paz Vega and Eva Florencia, bulls wish they'd never met either.

 

Wednesday, September 2:

8:00 – 9:30PM

American Masters  – "Trumbo."  Dalton Trumbo was a writer in Hollywood.  He refused to name names before HUAC and was imprisoned for his integrity, along with another nine fellows.  It wasn't until 1960 when he was credited for one of his scripts again.  This program is adapted from his son's 2003 play and letters Trumbo himself wrote.

 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.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Wide Angle – “Time for School 3.”  This would be the third installment (as if you couldn't tell by the name) of Wide Angle's "Time for School" series.  Okay, honestly, this is the first part of the third installment of the series which highlights the global issues with access to education.
 

Thursday, September 3:

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 “Tucson (Hour One)”. The Roadshow has gone west, landing smack dab in the middle of Tucson. It would be better if they were in Winslow, so that they could be standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, it’d be such a fine sight to see.  Take it easy, don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Great Lodges of the National Parks – "Grand Lodges."  There are lodges in some of our national parks.  Some would call them "great" and others would call them "grand."  I call them places that I think I'd really like to stay… provided that I had tons of extra cash to do it. 

 

Friday, September 4:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4910. 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 #536.  It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly news magazine. 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 #1321. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,321st 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 – "Operation Wildfire.”  If the movie Backdraft taught me anything, it's that fires move quickly.  If the Howie Long tour-de-force Firestorm taught me more, it's that fires move really, really quickly.  How do people fight wildfires who aren't Howie Long?  Good question, watch and find out.

 

Saturday, September 5:

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Foo Fighters." They're filled with foo and they're fighting mad. They're all-singing, perhaps some-dancing, and performing fools. This week they're going to be doing songs from Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. Great, good, happy, & cool. 

 

You see, as I explained last week, these pieces are written well in advance of publication, which means that by the time you read this I'll have come back from my 5:30 in the morning balloon ride, but at the time I've written it I won't have.  See, that's a good thing because the entire trip is a surprise – or wise a surprise – for my sister-in-law's 40th birthday.  If I'd let the cat out of the bag early I'd have been in deep trouble.

 

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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.