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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of February 7

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Last week we began to discuss my family's potential move back to the East Coast.  As I explained then, much of that had to do with bagels and the audacity some places not in the northeast have of calling their bagels "New York" bagels.  It's a lie foisted on an unsuspecting public, and while the offensive of calling round bread a bagel simply because it's round is great, it goes up exponentially when said round bread is called a "New York bagel."

 

Sunday, February 7:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "The Beauty of Ugly”.   I tend to think it's wrong of Nature to do a special on Ugly Betty.  I understand that it's a really popular show and all, but still.  Fine, fine, this episode isn't on an ABC show, it's on hagfish, naked mole rats, warthogs, proboscis monkeys, and the like. You now know the truth, are you happier for it?

9:00 – 10:00PM

Masterpiece Classic – "Emma (Part Three)."  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?

10:00 – 11:30PM

Great Performances – "Harlem in Montmartre."  There is an African American expatriate community in Paris… or, perhaps more accurately, there was.  It was there between the First and Second World Wars and many of its members congregated in Montmartre.   That's why this is called "Harlem in Montmartre" instead of "Harlem kind of near the Louvre."

 

Monday, February 8:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow - "Atlantic City (Hour Three)."  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 – 10:0PM

Bombing of Germany:  American Experience.  Did you know that on September 1, 1939, the day war broke out in Europe, FDR told those involved that they should "under no circumstances undertake the bombardment from the air of civilian populations."  Yeah, the U.S. kind of didn't listen to that advice years later, did we?  What exactly drove us from our 1939 ideals to our 1945 reality?

10:00 – 11:30PM

Blueprint America – "Beyond the Motor City."  Where does the future of American transportation lie?  Perhaps not in Detroit, but perhaps it all starts in the Motor City, perhaps it is the center of a many-spoked wheel.  All I know is that I hope they give answers beyond simply "the car," because even if we can make a completely environmentally friendly car, traffic is only going to get worse.

 

Tuesday, February 9:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “Extreme Cave Diving.”  There is a man named Dr. Kenny Broad.  He likes jump into big underwater caves.  The way he sees them (or the way the show argues things), these caves are the least explored things on the face of the planet.  Not having ventured into any of these caves, nor having watched this show, I can't attest to the strength of the argument.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline  – "Flying Cheap."  This episode asks the question of whether our skies are safe, or whether low-cost carriers, an aging system, and other factors have led our airline to, if not the brink of disaster, a relatively dangerous location.  We're 30 years past the "genius" move of airline deregulation.  Has it worked or did we make a massive mistake?

 10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – P-Star Rising."  P-Star is a nine-year-old rapper.  Priscilla is a nine-year-old little girl.  You know and I know that P-Star and Priscilla are the same person.  Her rap star may be rising, but that rise may be costing her the childhood that she is still very much in the midst of.  She may have gone from poverty to plenty, but it has cost her a lot.  If you want to know just what, tune in.

 

Wednesday, February 10:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – "The Promise of America."  The series is going to be using DNA testing and genealogical research to help tell the stories of 12 famous Americans.  Gates and company are going to be doing that over the course of four episodes and will delve into the history of folks like Mike Nichols, Kristi Yamaguchi, and Yo-Yo Ma, at least, those look to be the people on tonight as the show explores immigration in the 20th century.

9:00 – 11:00PM

The National Parks: America's Best Idea – “The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919).” In part three of this massive Ken Burns documentary we see what happens without John Muir. Don't worry though, it's not all bad as a new federal agency, the National Park Service, is established and a fight takes place to save the Grand Canyon.

 

Thursday, February 11:

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 Three)."  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 – "Lynyrd Skynyrd."  We will not be entering into a debate about this being the "real" Lynyrd Skynyrd or a band just using that band's name.  The upshot is that they're going to be playing a whole lot of songs here, including "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Gimme Three Steps."  Maybe that means that there's something here for fans of the old and the new.

 

Friday, February 12:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4932. 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 #607.  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 #1342.  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,342nd 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

Hawaiian Monk Seals: Surviving Paradise. Ummm… uhhhh… ah, the Hawaiian monk seal is the oldest living seal and is on the brink of extinction for a reason not at all stated in the description, which seems like it might not be humans because it does say that they live almost 1,000 kilometers from civilization. Could the problem be Al Gore?

 

Saturday, February 13:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Them Crooked Vultures."  You actually probably know Them Crooked Vultures even if you've never heard of them.  The band is composed of Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin.  The description I have talks about "high volume rock 'n' roll."  Yeah, that sounds about right.

 

There is an interesting property of New York bagels.  It takes them forever to go moldy.  Oh, they will go moldy, but far before they ever do that, they become rock hard and you know not to eat them because they're rock hard.  No examination for mold is necessary, if the bagel is an appropriate tool for hammering nails, it shouldn't be eaten.  It is as easy as that.

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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.