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PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of May 13

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Do you realize that it’s almost the end of May Sweeps? I mean, we’re really, really close to it. This year, the Sweep ends May 23, so by the end of this week, there’s less than a week left. It’s just the way it is. So little time, so much programming. Let’s see what they've got…

 

Sunday, May 13:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Can Animals Predict Disaster?” It’s an interesting question, some people think they can. Personally, I never recall Lassie saying “Timmy is going to fall down the well” only him noting that “Timmy has fallen down into the well,” and if Lassie can’t predict disaster, no animal can.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Theatre. “Bleak House, Episode 6.” I’ll be honest with you, things look dark, dismal, kind of empty. Fine, I’ll say it, things look just plain bleak. I wasn’t going to say it but you forced me to, things look bleak. But, that’s how Chuck Dickens wanted it.

 

Monday, May 14:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow - “Omaha (Hour One)”. Now, I know you know that I know that you know about Antiques Roadshow, which only leaves the question, what do you know about Omaha (steaks don’t count)? All I know about Omaha is steak, because that’s what I ate the night I spent in Omaha. The place was great, sawdust on the floor, country music on the jukebox, beer on tap. Not really your antiquey kind of digs.

9:00 – 11:000PM

American Experience – “Alexander Hamilton”. The sad thing about who I am is that every time I think of Alexander Hamilton, I think about the milk commercial with the guy obsessed by the duel between Hamilton and Burr and he gets called by a radio station to answer a question to win money. Naturally the question is “who shot Alexander Hamilton,” but the poor guy just ate a peanut butter sandwich and doesn’t have any milk and so he can’t answer. See, I told you it was sad.

 

Tuesday, May 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “Hitler’s Sunken Secret”. This week they go exploring whether or not the sinking of the Norwegian ferry Hydro did in fact help prevent Hitler from creating an atomic bomb. Did the ferry actually have heavy water on it? Well, did it?

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “Spying on the Home Front”. Does Bush’s war on terrorism here in the U.S. impinge upon civil liberties? If it does, is it okay that it does? If it doesn’t, should it? Watch and learn, friend, watch and learn.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – “Sentenced Home”. Some young Cambodian refugees made a bad decision as teenagers. They now face deportation, but they’re wiser and realize the error of their ways. Too little, too late?

  

Wednesday, May 16:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Secrets of the Dead – “Irish Escape”. In 1876, six Irish political prisoners escaped Fremantle Prison and set sail for America. The British followed. The prisoners escaped. PBS reenacts it all for your amusement.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Secret Files of the Inquisition – “The War on Ideas/The End of the Inquisition”. Not to repeat what I wrote last week, but… Two episodes. Back-to-back. All about the inquisition, which, I’m going to be honest with you, I can’t think about without also thinking about the song from History of the World, Part I. That Mel Brooks, he’s a funny guy.

 

Thursday, May 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.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow –  “Omaha (Hour One)”. Now, I know you know that I know that you know about Antiques Roadshow, which only leaves the question, what do you know about Omaha (steaks don’t count)? All I know about Omaha is steak, because that’s what I ate the night I spent in Omaha. The place was great, sawdust on the floor, country music on the jukebox, beer on tap. Not really your antiquey kind of digs.

10:00 – 11:00PM 

Churchill – “Destiny”. This episode follows the man, the myth, the legend, from birth to 1931. I like to think of the entire episode therefore as backstory to the good stuff which will come in future episodes. Not that understanding where the man came from isn’t important, it is, I just like the later bits better.

 

Friday, May 18:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4646. 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 chocolate ice cream.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW #320. It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly newsmagazine. 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!

9:00 – 10:00PM

Bill Moyers Journal #1105 – It’s Billy Moyers. It’s his 1,105th 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).

10:00PM – 11:00PM

Secrets of the Dead – “Irish Escape”. In 1876, six Irish political prisoners escaped Fremantle Prison and set sail for America. The British followed. The prisoners escaped. PBS reenacts it all for your amusement.

 

Saturday, May 19:

9:00 – 10:0PM

Austin City Limits – “The Dixie Chicks”. I love the Chicks! I don’t really listen to their music too much (it’s good, but not my style), but anyone who has been so lambasted for such an innocent comment has my complete support. Watch this show.

There we are, less than a week till the end of Sweeps, and from a time of mourning. It’s just a few weeks till summer repeats and nothing but reality TV. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just the way it is. It’s sad, but I understand the reasons for it. They aren’t necessarily good reasons, but they’re reasons. And that might be, maybe, what counts.

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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.
  • bliffle

    TV Guy: take a note: there’s a lot more to life than irony.

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