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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of December 13

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I find myself with a conundrum this holiday season.  It happens every year, but this year it's a little different and truly perplexes me.  Let me explain.  My daughter loves to draw.  Loves it.  The girl would go through a ream of paper every two weeks if I let her.  She has a double-sided easel that we got her two years ago.  One side has a blackboard, and the other a clip for attaching a huge pad of paper.  See more below.

 

Sunday, December 13:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Shark Mountain."  What if I told you that there were a bunch of sharks in the waters near Cocos Island which formed kind of a mountain.  I'm not saying that's what happened, I'm not saying that at all.  The description I have certainly does that as much (honestly, it doesn't).  I'm just asking a hypothetical question based on the little bits of information I do have.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Peter and Paul and the Christian Revolution – “The Rock and the River” and "The Empire and the Kingdom."  Based on Paul's works and those of other old-school writers along with various scholars, what we have here is a two part documentary which shows how the Christian faith came about.  Now, don't get angry with me if you don't like what this has to say, I'm just the messenger.

 

Monday, December 14:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – Roadshow Remembers.” Originally airing back in 2006, this retrospective looks back on 10 years of antiques. It's described here as a "trip down memory lane," which I find kind of amusing, because the whole show is sort of a trip down memory lane, not just the retrospective. 

9:00 – 10:00PM

Anatomy of a Pandemic.  Senior correspondent for PBS Newshour, Ray Suarez, "will report from the front lines of the effort to combat the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak."  That's right people, the front lines of the war on the flu.  While I hope that means that he's going to miniaturize himself and do it Isaac Asimov-style, I'm thinking that it's more history, and interview, and bigger picture-based.  Maybe next time.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Secrets of the Dead – "Killer Flu."  I know what you're thinking, you're thinking that this show originally aired six years ago.  You're right, but you're wrong.  It is that show, but it's been updated.  The team has finished the genetic sequencing of the 1918 flu and are going to compare it to the avian flu.

 

Tuesday, December 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “The Spy Factory.” The National Security Agency (or the NSA to you and me) is one of those fascinating things. They are, I like to think, shrouded in secrecy, in mystery; they are hidden in the shows. Well, Nova is apparently going to go and tell us all about them, bring the secrets into the light as it were. I bet they don't find out all the good stuff, like how the NSA controls the aliens that actually rule the world. Uh-oh, I think I said too much…

9:00 – 11:00PM

Frontline – "From Jesus to Christ."  I don't mind telling you that I'm moderately confused about this listing.  It both states that the show is new, and that it was originally broadcast between April and July of 1998.  See, where I'm from it's not new just because it's a decade old.  A decade old is still old.  It still might be a good story about the life of Jesus and what happened following his death, but if it aired in 1998, it's not new.

 

Wednesday, December 16:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Edward Hermann.   The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (and Orchestra) sing (and play) Christmas songs at Temple Square.  They're joined by Brian Stokes Mitchell and Edward Hermann.  How do I know?  Come on now, look at the title, they kind of give it all away.  I can also tell you (as not stated in the title) that Ed Hermann will be reading The Christmas Story.

9:00 – 11:30PM

Great Performances at the Met – "Tosca."  Broadcast season number four premieres tonight with Puccini's Tosca.  It's being staged by Luc Bondy (his Met debut) and stars Karita Mattila.  My understanding that this is something not to be missed if you like opera, but if you like opera you probably already know that, or you know that my understanding is inaccurate.

 

Thursday, December 17:

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 – Roadshow Remembers.” Originally airing back in 2006, this retrospective looks back on 10 years of antiques. It's described here as a "trip down memory lane," which I find kind of amusing, because the whole show is sort of a trip down memory lane, not just the retrospective. 

10:00 – 11:00PM

The Story of India – "The Meeting of Two Oceans." Michael Woods heads on a journey – and takes us along – through the history of the subcontinent.  He examines the people, the place, and the culture.  Tonight Woods goes into the time of British rule in India and the people's struggle for independence.

 

Friday, December 18:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4924. 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 #551.  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 #1335 It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,335th 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

Christmas at Luther: Night of Glory, Dawn of Peace. For 27 years Luther College has been holding televised Christmas concerts. There's candlelight, Christmas music and six different choirs (at least there are this year). They actually do more than one concert locally every year, either that or the 9,000 people that attend the one concert at the 1,700 seat venue are awfully tightly packed.

 

Saturday, December 19:

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Kings of Leon/Rory Erickson". I wonder if Rory Erickson is royalty of some sort. Perhaps he's a Duke of some sort. Maybe he's the Duke of Earl travelling under a stage name. Normally I wouldn't think such a thing, but why would the Kings of Leon agree to work with a regular individual? Surely they would want to work with royalty.

 

Her paper pad has just about run out.  We're going to buy her a new pad anyway, no matter what.  The question is, should it be a Christmas gift or should we just get it for her.  She's still young enough that she won't care getting it for Christmas instead of not having it bundled in with Christmas, she won't see it as one less thing on Christmas Day.  But, should we still not get it for her for the holidays?  Is that wrong?  Should we do it as just a separate thing? 

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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.
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