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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of January 24

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I seem to have increasing trouble with how quickly life goes by.  I remember, back in the day, when I was younger, time seemed to pass very slowly.  The amount of time between Halloween and Thanksgiving was forever.  The amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas interminable.  Christmas and New Year's would pass quickly because we were off from school, but life generally passed slowly.

Sunday, January 24:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "American Eagle.”  The bald eagle, once a dying breed has found its resurgence due to America's environmental policy.  This show discusses the eagle, its near extinction and its coming back from the brink of extinction.  Good for the eagle, always nice to see a success story like that.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Classic – "Emma (Part One)."  Even though this is a part of Masterpiece Classic, it is in fact new (if this is still January 2010, if it's not then it's a repeat).  It stars Romola Garai in the title role and Jonny Lee Miller as the knightly Mr. Knightley.  Man, I can't wait for them to do a zombies/sea monsters/undead film version of this.  How much fun would that be?

Monday, January 25:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Atlantic City (Hour One)."  I am a little worried about this particular trip on the Roadshow.  I just kind of worry that a lot of the stories will be about people buying stuff on the cheap in pawn shops.  Dig a little deeper and maybe we'll learn that the stuff bought at the pawn shops were left there by people trying to win back all the money they lost in the casinos.  See?  Depressing.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Wyatt Earp:  American Experience.  Seriously, how many times have you seen this guy on screen?  He's looked like Kevin Costner, Henry Fonda, and Jimmy Stewart amongst others.  Less your huckleberry and more the man, Wyatt Earp is a folk hero.  But, tonight we'll learn just who Earp was, and that may not be the person we've seen in the movies.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Sound Tracks:  Music Without Borders.  I can't honestly say that I knew before reading the description that there was a Sound Tracks reporting team, but having read the description I can now tell you that one certainly exists.  Said team is going to be looking at the story of Fela Kuti as well as Vladimir Putin's propaganda song.  Plus, the creators of Borat are trying to make things better with the people of Kazakhstan… musically.

Tuesday, January 26:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies.”  Now, here's something you're going to want an HDTV for.  This entire episode is shot in high definition and explores the lives of Monarch butterflies.  We used to keep Monarch butterflies back in kindergarten.  Well, they weren't butterflies when we started, merely caterpillars, but they were butterflies by the time we finished.  Ever since I've had a fascination with them.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline  – "The Fall of Lehman."  Lehman Brothers.  They were huge.  They were monstrous.  They are no more.  Do you want to know where they went wrong?  Do you want to know what they did that they shouldn't have done?  Are you curious about the business they were apparently doing with a mortgage lender being sued for fraud?  Frontline is going to try to pick up the pieces and fit them into a puzzle so as to give us a complete picture.

 10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhythms”. This week we get a repeat of the show's in-depth look at the “machismo” that’s involved in hip hop (some would substitute misogyny, violence, and homophobia for “machismo”).  I'm not saying that's the case, I'm just saying that others would suggest that.

Wednesday, January 27:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Tavis Smiley Reports – "One on One with Hillary Clinton."  Tavis Smiley has been around the block once or twice.  Smiley has interviewed many a person, and this week, in the first of four topical specials, Smiley will be sitting down with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Twenty-four months ago this isn't where Clinton thought she would be, but 12 months ago she took on the role.  Smiley and Clinton take a look at the past year and Clinton's work in the Obama administration.

9:00 – 11:00PM

The National Parks: America's Best Idea – “The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890).” In part one of this massive Ken Burns documentary we get to see how it all began. In case you're wondering, it was with Yosemite. People started to hear about it in 1851 and by 1864 Congress protected it and handed it to the state of California. Yellowstone quickly followed and we were on our way.

Thursday, January 28:

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.

9:30 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Atlantic City (Hour One)."  I am a little worried about this particular trip on the Roadshow.  I just kind of worry that a lot of the stories will be about people buying stuff on the cheap in pawn shops.  Dig a little deeper and maybe we'll learn that the stuff bought at the pawn shops were left there by people trying to win back all the money they lost in the casinos.  See?  Depressing.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – "The Fray."  I don't want you to think that The Fray will only be playing songs from their new(ish) album.  They won't.  They'll also be playing songs from 2005's How to Save a Life.  Probably they'll even play "How to Save a Life" as "How to Save a Life" was one of their biggest hits on How to Save a Life.  That's right "How to Save a Life" is from the album How to Save a Life.  Strange, yes, but true.

Friday, January 29:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4930. 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 #605.  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 #1340.  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,340th 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

Looking for Lincoln. Henry Louis Gates Jr. takes some time and explores the man, the myth, the legend. In my mind, this whole think unravels a lot like Looking for Richard (or Looking for Richard Crenna, but that's been seen by far fewer people). It probably doesn't, but I definitely think it would be great if it did.

Saturday, January 30:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Steve Earle/Kris Kristofferson."  Steve Earle will be paying tribute tonight.  No, not to Kris Kristofferson, but rather to his mentor Townes Van Zandt.  Kris Kristofferson, on the other hand, will (as far as I can tell) not be paying tribute to Townes Van Zandt.  Kristofferson though, as we all know is utterly fantastic (not that Steve Earle or Townes Van Zandt isn't).

Now, life seems to pass a whole lot faster than it ever did before.  It has been suggested to me that the reason for this is that each year is now a smaller percentage of my life.  That makes some sense to me, I don't know if it's true, but it definitely makes sense to me.  I'm not entirely sure that I like things going faster and faster, but I do like not having to wait that long between one Christmas and the next.

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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.