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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of January 3

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The New Year is upon us! Well, yes, it was truly upon us last week, but this is the first full week of the New Year, and thus I'm declaring it upon us. Here's the thing about new years – they're not really new. I mean, the number is different, but you are essentially the same person you were the day before. Plus, let's face it, the year change is kind of arbitrary, isn't it?

Sunday, January 3:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "White Falcon, White Wolf.” Oh, Canada. You have many places where the winter lasts for well more than half the year. One of those places is Ellesmere Island, where white gyrfalcons and Arctic wolves live. How does their life cycle exactly work? I hope it has to do with huddling together for warmth.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece – "Cranford – Episode 3". This is part three of a three-part series based on the writing of Elizabeth Gaskell. Better than that though, it's about a small, little, tiny, miniature, if you will, English village which, for some reason, "comes to life with gossip, parties, romances, sudden death, bankruptcy, and the railroad."

Monday, January 4:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow - "Raleigh." Ah, North Carolina, or, as I like to call it, Tobacco Town. Yes, I know it's a state, but if I were to call it a state then there would be a complete lack of alliteration, and I’m all for alliteration. I'm not sure that there will be alliteration in North Carolina's trip to the Roadshow (or even the Roadshow's trip to North Carolina), but that doesn't mean that I'm not willing to try to make it happen.

9:00 – 11:00PM

This Emotional Life – "Family, Friends & Lovers." This is a three-part series which looks at just how we can go about improving our relationships, coping with depression, anxiety, perhaps even general distress. The series will actually be discussing science, things like neurological processes, cognitive what-nots, and other intelligent things. Plus, tonight there'll even be a young boy who was adopted from a Russian orphanage.

Tuesday, January 5:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “Killer Subs in Pearl Harbor.” In December of 1941 the USS Arizona sank – you probably saw the movie, it was one of those Bruckheimer dealies – anyway, now people are starting to think that maybe, just maybe, the boat didn't go down due to the Japanese fighters. It turns out that it may have been subs who took out the Arizona. Watch and see what just may be the truth.

9:00 – 11:00PM

This Emotional Life – "Facing our Fears." This is part two of a three-part series which looks at just how we can go about improving our relationships, coping with depression, anxiety, perhaps even general distress. The series will actually be discussing science, things like neurological processes, cognitive what-nots, and other intelligent things. Tonight we'll get the story of a college student who doesn't like to fly.

Wednesday, January 6:

8:00 – 9:00PM

The Human Spark – "Becoming Us." Alan Alda – one of my all-time favorite actors ever – goes to caves in the Dordogne region of France to try and figure out just how we became us. No, not you and I became us (though that is special to me), we humanity became us. I firmly believe that if Alda can't find out what exactly makes us human, no one can.

9:00 – 11:00PM

This Emotional Life – "Rethinking Happiness." This is part two of a three-part series which looks at just how we can go about improving our relationships, coping with depression, anxiety, perhaps even general distress. The series will actually be discussing science, things like neurological processes, cognitive what-nots, and other intelligent things. In this last episode we learn the ultimate truth – "the quality of relationships" it seems "ultimately defines our happiness."

 

Thursday, January 7:

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 - "Raleigh." Ah, North Carolina, or, as I like to call it Tobacco Town. Yes, I know it's a state, but if I were to call it a state then there would be a complete lack of alliteration, and I’m all for alliteration. I'm not sure that there will be alliteration in North Carolina's trip to the Roadshow (or even the Roadshow's trip to North Carolina), but that doesn't mean that I'm not willing to try to make it happen.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Your Life, Your Money. Donald Faison hosts this show which features "real-life stories of young people finding their way through a variety of economic challenges." It's got information/advice on banking, credit, investments, budgeting, insurance, self-employment, and, just perhaps how to make a million dollars working from home. Wouldn't that be great?

Friday, January 8:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4927. 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 #602. 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 #1337. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,337th 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

Emile Norman: By His Own Design. Did you know that at the age of 88, Emile Norman, is still working, and apparently with "the same passion for life, art, nature, and freedom" that he's had for years. Oh, I'm told it's true, I'm told it's true. Listen, don't complain to me about it, I don't need to hear your quibbles. I only know what I'm told.

Saturday, January 9:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Allen Toussaint." Allen Toussaint, the legendary New Orleans songwriter, appears on Austin City Limits tonight. Perhaps he's actually appearing within the city limits tonight. Maybe he's just outside the city limits tonight. Maybe he's straddling the city limits. Whatever the case may be he's going to be playing both classic songs and ones from his latest LP, The Bright Mississippi.

I tell you, ask yourself, are you truly different today than you were a week ago? A week and a half ago? Yes, you may be minutely different, and a couple of you may have undergone real and true change, but I would dare to suggest that for the vast majority of us, a new year isn't so much new as more of the same. That's not necessarily bad – I actually quite enjoy my life – it's just the way it is.

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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.