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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of September 20

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It seems like just last week that I was contemplating the vicissitudes of time and whether or not I could possibly save it in a bottle. I've come to the conclusion that I can't. I wish that I could, I think it would be pretty swell. However, time doesn't allow for that sort of thing. Time isn't a solid (or liquid or gas) like that. Imagine if it were though.

 

Sunday, September 20:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Violent Hawaii.” I've been telling Hawaii for years that it had to seek help, that it needed to go into some sort of anger management program. Hawaii did not listen. Hawaii never listens. Hawaii has volcanic eruptions, gigantic waves, and apparently snow. Oh Hawaii, seek help.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Inspector Lewis, Series II – The Great and the Good." 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 week he goes after those who assaulted a teenage girl). I'll certainly be watching (or will have watched it already depending on how things work out).

10:30 – 11:00PM

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.

 

Monday, September 21:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Spokane (Hour One)". Wow. I am amazed. This week the Roadshow is in Spokane. Spokane! Washington! Spokane, Washington! Say it with me one time: Spokane, Washington! Spokane, the town that can! Spokane, the town with a plan! Spokane, where a man can be a man! Spokane, where they have lots of old stuff for the Roadshow.

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

Independent Lens – "Our Disappeared/Nuestros Desaparecidos." During the 1976 to 1983 military dictatorships in Argentina thousands of people were kidnapped. Most of those were never heard from again. The director of this episode, Juan Mandelbaum, wants to figure out what exactly happened.

 

Tuesday, September 22:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - "The Ghost in Your Genes". Tonight's show is going to explore the long-held theory that all our inherited traits are passed on in the genes. Some of the scientists interviewed here think that our environment makes changes to our DNA without affecting a gene's makeup. This totally sounds like something Nova scienceNOW did back in the day.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Killer Stress: A National Geographic Special. Apparently, stress used to keep us alive. It was what made us run, and turn and fight and kill. Now, it's killing us. We're all stressed out and it's not good for us. It's time to take a look at exactly what's going on and why. It won't change anything (that's the sad truth of the world), but we're going to look at the problems anyway.

10:30 – 11:30PM

P.O.V. – "Bronx Princess." There once was a girl from the Bronx. She was named Rocky Otoo and was the daughter of Ghanian parents, one of whom moved with her to the Bronx, and the other who remained (as a chief) in Africa. Rocky, getting into a fight with said mother moves back to live with said father. Rocky learns quite quickly that life in Africa and life in the Bronx aren't so much the same.

 

Wednesday, September 23:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Great Lodges of the National Parks – "Episode 201." It's back! It's back! The new season is upon us and we're going to learn all about some swell places to stay in Death Valley, the Northwest, and by Hawaii's volcanoes. Those won't all be tonight, but they will be this season (maybe). Oh I can't wait, I just can't wait (even if this is a repeat).

8:00 – 9:00PM

Great Lodges of the National Parks – "Episode 202." It's back! It's back! The new season is upon us and we're going to learn all about some swell places to stay in Death Valley, the Northwest, and by Hawaii's volcanoes. Those won't all be tonight, but they will be this season (maybe). Oh I can't wait, I just can't wait (even if this is the second repeat of it tonight).

10:00 – 11:00PM

Wallace Stegner. This would be the 100th birthday of Wallace Stegner — not today, this year would mark it. Consequently, what we have a here is a biographical film of the writer/conservationist/teacher. It contains interviews from some of his more famous students, some of his family, and a contemporary or two (or perhaps three or more).

 

Thursday, September 24:

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 – "Spokane (Hour One)". Wow. I am amazed. This week the Roadshow is in Spokane. Spokane! Washington! Spokane, Washington! Say it with me one time: Spokane, Washington! Spokane, the town that can! Spokane, the town with a plan! Spokane, where a man can be a man! Spokane, where they have lots of old stuff for the Roadshow.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Great Lodges of the National Parks – "Pacific Northwest Lodges." Seriously? A third episode this week? Oh, I'm not complaining, I love great lodges and national parks… probably more than the next person. It's just that, well, three episodes is a lot. Isn't it?

 

Friday, September 25:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4913. 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 Double Dutch Chocolate ice cream.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW on PBS #539. 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 #1324. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,324th 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 – "Battle of the Wines.” In this corner – Chardonnay. In the other corner – Pinot Noir. I would love to see that, truly I would. If robots can battle on television, why not wines? Why not wines? Who says that wines can't battle? Why should that be the rule? Are you some kind of wine-ist?

 

Saturday, September 26:

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival." HSBF — I guess it's sort of like CBGB, right? HSBF & OMFUG. It could work. This is a one-hour special with bits and pieces of HSBF and has Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Bruce Hornsby, Ricky Skaggs, and Emmylou Harris (and some other folks).

 

Many years ago (more than I'd like to count), I was in FAO Schwarz. They had this stuff there that was a liquid, but when you put your hand into it, grabbed some, and squeezed, it turned into a solid. As I recall, it smelled a little, but that's neither here nor there. No, what I was thinking about now was how great it would be if time were like that. Fun, right?

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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.