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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of October 11

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So, my New York pilgrimage comes to an end this week, and I head off to Vegas.  Or, perhaps I already have headed off to Vegas.  It all kind of depends on when in the week you're reading this.  We've had this discussion before already though, haven't we?  You remember the whole malleable nature of time, that kind of thing.  Oh, it's no FlashForward or anything like that, but still interesting.

 

Sunday, October 11:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Raptor Force”. We all know about raptors. We all saw Sam Neill explain raptors to that poor little boy in Jurassic Park, but since Jurassic Park is years old, we may need a refresher. Nature will provide just that.  

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Inspector Lewis, Series II – Quality of Mercy."  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 a young actor passes away under less than normal circumstances).  I'll certainly be watching (or will have watched it already depending on how things work out).

 10:30 – 11:00PM

Remembered Earth:  New Mexico's High Desert.  Filmmaker John Grabowska and author N. Scott Momaday "present a vision of hope for humankind's relationship to the natural world by interpreting the myth, beauty and power of a scarred but sacred landscape of the American West."  Wow, that's quite the mouthful.

 

Monday, October 12:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "San Antonio (Hour One)". Ah, Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas. Is it better in Texas though? Is it older in Texas? Has It been kept in better condition in Texas? My understanding is that it's pretty dry in Texas, maybe that has helped preserve the various items that the antiquers bring in.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Latin Music USA – "Bridges/The Salsa Revolution."  Jimmy Smits takes on the role of narrator in this series about the influence of Latin music on jazz, hip hop, rhythm and blues, and rock 'n' roll.  Tonight we're actually getting two episodes, the first on rise of Latin jazz and the second on the creation of Salsa from Puerto Ricans in New York.

 

Tuesday, October 13:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - "Hubble's Amazing Rescue."   That's right, tonight, the Hubble flies off to the planet Krypton and saves the young lad who will one day go onto become Superman.  Either that, or NASA sends astronauts to fix the Hubble.  I like my way better, but can admit that it would be reinventing the saga in a way that would make some uncomfortable.  I think we'll let the naysayers have this one.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline - "Obama's War."   What exactly is Obama's plan with Afghanistan?  Where are we headed?  How long will be there?  How much money will it cost?  How many troops will go?  Obama didn't start this war (Afghanistan and Pakistan), but it's his now and it's his strategies that will be implemented (with the aid of aides, obviously).

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "Herb & Dorothy."   Once upon a time there was a postal clerk and a librarian.  They were not rich, and yet, magically, they managed to amass a massive – and important – collection of contemporary art.  Personally, I wonder if they get rich in the process, because if they did, that's kind of like a happily ever after.

 

Wednesday, October 14:

8:00 – 9:30PM

American Masters – "Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound."  This claims to be "the first comprehensive documentary to chronicle the private life and public career of Joan Baez."  I find that astounding, simply astounding.  I'm not saying they're wrong, I'm just saying "wow, how could that be?"   The filmmakers apparently followed her 2008-2009 world tour, so it should be pretty up to date too.

9:30 – 10:00PM

The Queen Family. Appalachia. It's a-changing. The Queen family, seriously, they're named Queen. And, even better, they play mountain music. Mountain music. Their way of life is passing though, the modern world is encroaching, and Mary Jane Queen, her husband, and their eight kids are changing with it.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Art in the Twenty-First Century – "Fantasy."  Is there art in the 21st Century?  Is there?  I don't know.  Certainly this show argues that there is, and this week's episode focuses on those artists who explore "defy convention and transport the viewer to unreal worlds and altered states of consciousness."  I wonder if they make lickable paintings. 

 

Thursday, October 15:

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 – "San Antonio (Hour One)". Ah, Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas. Is it better in Texas though? Is it older in Texas? Has It been kept in better condition in Texas? My understanding is that it's pretty dry in Texas, maybe that has helped preserve the various items that the antiquers bring in.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Keeping Score – "Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique."  Apparently there's this guy, Michael Tilson Thomas, and this other guy, Hector Berlioz.  Berlioz wrote the symphony named in the title and Tilson searches for Berlioz's inspiration.  I don't mean that he's like Berlioz's researcher, much more that he's doing if after the fact, you know, to understand.

 

Friday, October 16:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4915. 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 #542.  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 #1326. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,326th 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

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? – "When the Bough Breaks / Becoming American". African-American infant mortality rates in this country are double that of white Americans. Recent Mexican immigrants tend to be a very healthy minority. However, The longer the immigrants are here the worse their health becomes. Why is that? What exactly are we doing wrong?

 

Saturday, October 17:

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Kenny Chesney."  Kenny Chesney, the country singer takes the stage tonight in this, a brand new (if it's still October 17, 2009) episode.  Chesney is going to play his greatest hits, or, anyway, his greatest hits as of October 17, 2009.  If he comes out with a new massive success (or has come out with one depending on our time frame) in 2010 or 2011, it won't be included on this episode, it just can't be. 

 

I know that we already discussed exactly why I'm heading to New York (pizza, bagels, et.), but we never did discuss why I'm headed to Vegas.  Happily for you, we're not going to.  That's right, we're not going to talk about it.  We're not going to discuss exactly when I'm getting there, nor exactly when I'm leaving.  It simply isn't going to be talked about.  I can't and I won't.  So there.

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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.