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PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of August 12

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Well, that's another Pledge Drive down, and probably only 20 more to go before the end of the year. You laugh at that, I know, but you laugh in kind of an uneasy, he might actually be telling the truth sort of way. That's good, you're scared, I like that in a reader. I like to taste the fear in the eyes of those checking out this page. I like to know that you're shaking in your boots. Yes, yes, I'm joking, relax, check out PBS's listings for the week, they'll truly make you afraid.

 

Sunday, August 12:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Holy Cow.” The story of the cow. How the cow has changed humanity, and how humanity has changed the cow. I hope they do something on the cud, I love hearing about cow cud, and how the cow chews its cud, and how the cud gets chewed by the cow.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Mystery! – “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia. It's Jeremy Brett as Holmes and David Burke as Watson as a mysterious masked nobleman asks for help. He, apparently, and allegedly, wants to save one of the royal houses of Europe. Yeah, that and $2 will get you on the subway.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Why Smart People Do Stupid Things With Money. Renowned tax attorney Bert Whitehead gives you – that's right, you – advice on how to secure your financial future. I've never heard of Bert Whitehead, but if my little synopsis tells me he's renowned I'll accept it and so should you.

 

Monday, August 13:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Hot Springs (Hour Three).” Did you know Hot Springs was in Arkansas? I didn't. But apparently host Dan Elias does and he's going to partake in some of the town's trademark hydrotherapy. I'm not sure what that means, but can only assume that it does in fact have something to do with hot springs in Hot Springs, right?

9:00 – 10:00PM

History Detectives. This show may be the most fascinating show ever, it really may, but its title leave a lot to be desired. Now I'm just spitballing here, so this many not be quite what they're looking for, but if they want a ratings boost how about something like CSI: History or Law & Order: Old School.

10:00 – 11:00PM

The Standard of Perfection. I don't want to sound conceited or anything, but… done. I joke, relax, I joke, I'm as imperfect as they come. But Mark Lewis, director of The Natural History of the Chicken (seriously, that's not a joke) will be checking out show cats, their owners, and the judges at the Cat Fanciers' Association International Cat Show in this episode.

 

Tuesday, August 14:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - "Origins". Nova continues repeating their "Origins" series this week, and tonight's episode is entitled "How Life Began." So, not only will it cover the origins of life after the formation of our planet (see last week's episode for that story) it will go over the ever-increasing complexity of life and how that led, hopefully, to us.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Wide Angle – “18 With a Bullet.” In the early 1990s hundreds of people from El Salvador were deported from the United States. Some went to San Salvador and brought L.A. gang culture with them. Now they have a gang known as "18" that acts kind of like an armed militia. This episode of Wide Angle presents six month in the life.

10:00 – 11:00PM

P.O.V. - “A Family Undertaking.” Did you know that funerals are a multi-million dollar industry in this country? I didn't, but can totally believe it. This show explores the ever-growing industry by following several families as they plan the whole thing out. Sounds morbid and depressing, but possibly really, really interesting too.

 

Wednesday, August 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Hawaiian Monk Seals: Surviving Paradise. Ummm… uhhhh… ah, the Hawaiian monk seal is the oldest living seal and is on the brink of extinction fro 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?

9:00PM – 11:00PM

The Sixties: The Years that Shaped a Generation. I like to think of the 1960s as a decade of absolutely fantastic music and ideals that completely and utterly failed. This two hour extravaganza will go through not only the music but the activism that took place as well. I hope they reach my conclusions on the whole thing. Let's face it, the counter-culture failed.

 

Thursday, August 16:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Live From Lincoln Center - "Mozart Dances". Now that would be awesome. Frankly it's something I'd pay to see. I think this calls for a revival of that Austrian pop icon, Falco. You know the one I'm talking about. That's right, if he dances, I'll be yelling "Rock Me Amadeus!"

10:00 – 11:00PM

Adventure Lodges of North America – "Canadian Adventure Lodges". And the summer doldrums clearly have set in over at PBS. Pledge Week is clearly over. The boss is almost certainly out of town. I kid, I kid, just because I would associate this with the travel channel and not PBS, that doesn't mean that looking at a bunch of historic inns and chalets across North America will be less exciting than seeing a dead composer dance.

 

Friday, August 17:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4707. 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 #333. 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, you guys are awesome!

9:00 – 10:00PM

Bill Moyers Journal #1119 – It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,119th 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 – 10:30PM

Exposé: America’s Investigative Reports #209. Each episode in this series focuses on journalistic investigations and the people that went and did them. I think it’s a dying art in this country, we’re all far too interested in the cheap hit than the in-depth story.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Alan Alda in Scientific American Frontiers – “The Secret Canyon.” A look at how the unconscious mind determines our behavior. What the "canyon" is I can't say, maybe Alda will be able to tell us the same time, next year.

 

Saturday, August 18:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Blues Traveler/Café Tacuba". I wish that this mean that Blues Traveler was playing in Cafe Tacuba, but as I'm pretty sure that Cafe Tacuba is a Mexican quartet, it seems highly unlikely that John Popper would fit inside.

Well, we're halfway through August, and you know what that means. You don't know what that means? Are you sure you don't know what that means? Come on now, venture a guess, hazard an opinion. Don't be afraid (despite what I said above), shout it out. No? You're not going to put anything down on paper about what it might mean? Really? Okay, then, tune in next week and find out.

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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.