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PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 1/7

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Seems to me as we get further and further into the new year (yes, I now deem us “far” into the new year), the world has failed to be terribly different than it was in the old year. Am I naïve thinking things will change? What’s so new about this year, anyway? It’s just the number, isn’t it? Other than that, it’s the same old thing, again, and again, and again. For instance, just like towards the end of the old year, here’s a week of PBS’s primetime programming. Sure, maybe some of the particular shows or episodes are different, but I’m listing the programs again. And that’s not new – it just isn’t.

Sunday, January 7:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Chasing Big Cats”. I never thought big cats needed to be chased. Doesn’t Garfield pretty much lie there doing nothing, and he’s a pretty big cat. Maybe they mean the Cat in the Hat. He’s big and seems far more mobile than Garfield. Ah, reading my sheet here it appears we’re looking at five different cats from Africa, not Garfield or the Cat in the Hat at all (or Heathcliff for that matter).

9:00PM – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “The Virgin Queen”. This is part 1 of 2 in a mini-series exploring the 40-year reign of Elizabeth I. I know, you were thinking it was Elizabeth II and kind of a raunchy exposé on her wedding night. Shame on you.

Monday, January 8:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Honolulu (Hour Two)”. Here in hour two we get to witness the police storming the Antiques Roadshow in order to catch a serial killer. Sure, it’s a new twist for Antiques Roadshow, but it allows for the episode to end with those famous words, “book’em, Dano,” and if that’s not worth it, I don’t know what is.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – “The Alaska Pipeline”. Is Alaska still a part of this country? Isn’t it odd to go from a Hawaiin show to an Alaskan one? I’m American and don’t have any Alaskan pipeline experience, so maybe this whole thing isn’t quite as universal as they thought. Chew on that, PBS.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence. This hour-long program looks at the resurgence of anti-Semitism 60 years after the end of the Holocaust. Many parts of the world are experiencing this resurgence. In Europe, violent acts against Jewish people and Jewish institutions have more than doubled since the 1990s. Judy Woodruff hosts and narrates.

Tuesday, January 9:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova scienceNOW. ScienceNOW is the newest addition to the Nova family, currently in its second season. Episodes in this series look at a variety of topics over the course of a single episode instead of just one thing for the whole hour.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “Return of the Taliban”. Seems as though this nation’s efforts to eliminate the Taliban in Afghanistan weren’t so successful. They’re back with a vengeance, and they’re on part of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border that we have an agreement not to send troops into. I will delve no further into this as it only leads to the failure of the “war on terror” and will upset many and earn me numerous hate e-mails.

10:00 – 11:00PM

To Be Announced

Wednesday, January 10:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Science Investigators. Making science cool again, these scientific investigators take a look at fascinating questions: Can you build an elevator into space? Does anyone own the internet? Do robots have feelings? Hold your horses; I apologize. Science was never cool. There’s no way these guys are making science cool “again.” My bad.

9:00 – 10:00PM

China From The Inside – “Power and the People”. This series of documentaries takes a look at China “through Chinese eyes.” Does that mean there’s going to be some weird stereoscopic effect? That would be neat-o. This particle episode looks at how the Communist Party exerts control over 1.3 billion citizens. Or, how they don’t as the case may be.

10:00 – 11:00PM

China From The Inside – “Women of the Country”. Same series. Different episode. Women in China have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. This episode looks at the reasons for this as well as how things are starting to change in the country.

Thursday, January 11:

8:00 – 9:00PM

This Old House Hour – Episode To Be Announced. 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.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Honolulu (Hour Two)”. Please see above joke.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Edens Lost and Found – “Los Angeles: Dream a Different City”. I dream of a Los Angeles where people can still drive if it rains. I dream of a Los Angeles where traffic doesn’t come to a screeching halt at the mere report that it might, sometime in the following week, just possibly rain at 3 in the morning for a total of 15 minutes. Seriously people, I know you have to slow down when it rains, but you don’t have to come to a complete fricking stop. Oh yeah, and this show will talk about how people in L.A. are tired of the pollution.

Friday, January 12:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal – “#4628”. This is the next episode of the long-running public affairs series with folks from D.C.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW – “#303”. It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly newsmagazine. It looks at issues facing our democracy. David Brancaccio hosts the show – and it’s now, now, NOW. Not like Nova scienceNOW is now – this is now in a whole different way. It’s now, but it’s a different now, maybe those Science Investigators should get on this conundrum.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Generation Next: Speak Up, Be Heard. Judy Woodruff hosts this program about taking an RV across the country to profile sixteen 25-year-olds and takes a look at their views on the world. Okay, I fall into this generation, and I’m going to speak up, right now. First off, don’t ever, EVER associate me and my generation with a Pepsi tagline again. We don’t like it. It’s not that we dislike Pepsi, but how can you appropriate one of their slogans and just pop it onto us. It’s so NOT okay. Next, if you really want to reach us, don’t send an RV, we’re not interested.

10:00PM – Lengths Vary

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – “#141”. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this episode, it seems to have a lot to do with ants though. Pet ants, poets reading about ants, and the like. Sounds pretty Pythonesque though.

Saturday, January 13:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “James Blunt/James McMurtry”. Blunt is from England. McMurtry is the son of famous author Larry McMurtry. He’s not from England. He is, much like Blunt, a singer however. That’s why they’re both on this program. It’s a singing program.

Not to harp too much, but see, it’s a lot like last year. Hell, I recycled some jokes from last year, and what’s so “new year” about me recycling last year’s jokes? I really don’t feel this whole “new year” thing. My salary hasn’t changed. It’s the same as the old year’s salary. Maybe it’s my bills; they seem to have grown in this new year. Whatever happened to COLAs? I need some serious COLAing of my salary, and that would truly make for something new this year.

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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.
  • Paul

    “Frontline – “Return of the Taliban”

    Surprise, surprise. Frontline once again does a piece on either Iraq of Afghanistan.

    How many YEARS do we have to wait for new Frontline shows re: social issues???

  • Bliffle

    Seems odd to have people review specific PBS programs who don’t like PBS in general. They could save effort by just saying they don’t like PBS up front.

  • TV and Film Guy

    Bliffle, I’m not at all sure I understand what you mean.

  • Bliffle

    Perhaps the reviewer lacks a preview tape of the program, or perhaps he didn’t bother to view it and then attempts to substitute sophomoric humor for preview and description, but reviews like this are useless:

    “Making science cool again, these scientific investigators take a look at fascinating questions: Can you build an elevator into space? Does anyone own the internet? Do robots have feelings? Hold your horses; I apologize. Science was never cool. There’s no way these guys are making science cool “again.” My bad.”

  • TV and Film Guy

    Ah, I understand now, it seems as though there’s a misunderstanding on the purpose of this piece. The piece exists simply to state what is on, not to (p)review the pieces.

    If the attempts at humor are not to your liking though, it seems likely that you are not alone and you should take solace in that fact.

  • Bliffle

    Rather than lame humor, I would like some statement of what the programs will offer, or, what it has offered in the past.

    As it is, there is simply too little or no real content in the reviews. After eliminating the humor stuff, that is.

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com/ TV and Film Guy

    Some of what you have asked for already does exist.

    As for there being little to no content in the “reviews.” I must again tell you that there are no “reviews” here. Which is probably a pretty good reason for their not being any review content.

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