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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of October 7

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Ah, lest you think that the new Ken Burns documentary series was over, PBS has a surprise for you! That’s right, they’re bringing it back! For one night only, this Wednesday night, PBS is going to bring back The War! No, not the whole thing, though I wonder if come pledge drive time they don’t bust it out again, but this week, just one episode, “When Things Get Tough.” I wonder if they had trouble filling a programming slot and things got, well, tough.

 

Sunday, October 7:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Andes: The Dragon’s Back.” Yeah, Dragon! Way to come back. I don’t know where the Andes went, but it’s back and “home to a rich tapestry of environments.” And who doesn’t like a nice rich tapestry? I know I do.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Mystery! – “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Series VI: Chinese Walls. So, this week Lynley and Havers enter the world of the Internet and all the evil therein. This happens because Emily Proctor, a poor young barrister, has died. Not on the Internet, she died in the real world, I don’t want you thinking that this is some sort of weird sci-fi thing.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Antiques Roadshow FYI – “112.” This is a “magazine-style spin-off” of Antiques Roadshow. They’re going to take a look at some past items that have appeared on the show, along with the owners, and do a whole “where are they now” kind of thing. Plus, there is going to be a little Halloween fun to be had as well, but that I don’t want to spoil.

 

Monday, October 8:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Philadelphia (Hour One).” I am hoping someone brings in the Liberty Bell — that, or the Rocky Balboa statue. Seriously, how much fun would that be, watching the appraisers take a look at the Liberty Bell, see the huge crack in it and deem it worth about $100? Good times.

9:00 – 11:00PM

The Magnificent Voyage of Christopher Columbus. Oh, the dysentery! The scurvy! The disease! Magnificent! This two hour tour is originally from the seven-part Columbus and the Age of Discovery series that aired over 15 years ago. It has since been adapted and remastered in high-definition. Now the disease really pops off the screen.

 

Tuesday, October 9:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - "Secrets of the Samurai Sword". I imagine that the secret is that it allows Hiro to do his squishy-blink thing and freeze time or transport himself elsewhere. That’s what Kensei’s samurai sword did, so surely that’s what virtually all samurai swords do, right?.

9:00 – 11:00PM

P.O.V. - “49 Up”. Michael Apted, the man who directed Pierce Brosnan as Ian Fleming’s Secret Agent 007 in The World Is Not Enough returns to his documentary “Up” series. He started with kids at the age of 7 and every seven years has gone back to revisit as many of the people as would have him. So, 49 years in, the differences are simply amazing.  Here is a link to the PBS site for the show, and here is another that has the trailer.

 

Wednesday, October 10:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Wired Science – “Episode 102”. The second episode of this series takes a look at a giant garbage patch in the middle of the North Pacific Gyre. Gyre, that sounds great doesn’t it? Except for the garbage patch bit. I don’t even know that I know what a garbage patch is. I know what a pumpkin patch is, are they similar?

9:00PM – 11:00PM

The War – “When Things Get Tough.” The second part of Ken Burns’s six-years-in-the-making, 14-hour documentary looking at World War Two and the stories of people from four different areas of the United States: Waterbury Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Luverne, Minnesota.

 

Thursday, October 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.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Philadelphia (Hour One).” I am hoping someone brings in the Liberty Bell — that, or the Rocky Balboa statue. Seriously, how much fun would that be, watching the appraisers take a look at the Liberty Bell, see the huge crack in it and deem it worth about $100? Good times.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Windsor Castle: A Royal Year – "The Banquet". For the first time, I’m told, cameras will be following people during an “a year in the life” feature all about the actual workings of Windsor Castle. This first episode goes through all the planning that is required for a 300 person banquet.

 

Friday, October 12:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4715. 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 – 9:30PM

NOW #341. 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!

9:30 – 10:30PM

Bill Moyers Journal #1127 - It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,127th 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).

10:30PM – 11:00PM

Exposé: America’s Investigative Reports #217. 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.

 

Saturday, October 13:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "The Decemberists/Explosions in the Sky". Frankly I think there ought to be explosions in the sky during December. Mostly because it’s my birthday, which I think makes me a Decemberist, and to have explosions in the sky (I think of them as “fireworks”) during December would be just fantastic.

 

Tell me truly, I desperately want to know, did you watch the Ken Burns documentary? What did you think of it? Were you amused? Where you enthralled? Flabbergasted? Shocked? What did you learn? What did this series tell you that you had not known before? If you were Ken Burns, what would you do for your next documentary (no fair playing if you have insider knowledge)? Inquiring minds want to know!

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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.