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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of July 27

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The more I work on The Sword in the Stone ride (the ride I would create were I an Imagineer and given the chance), the more I think about it, the more I think that it is, unquestionably, a ride that should be built.  It could be fun in a way that those classic Disney rides are fun, it could be magic.  Seriously, done correctly, the ride could be Disney-style magic.   Read below to see a little bit more of what I would do with it given the chance.

 

Sunday, July 27

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Oceans in Glass:  Behind the Scenes of the Monterey Bay Aquarium."  Listen, I love the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I do.  I've been there a half-dozen times and will probably be going again within the next few months.  It's utterly fantastic, but, the most impressive thing, it's the fact that they filmed Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home there.

9:00PM – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Foyle's War, Series V – All Clear".  This is it for our good friend Christopher Foyle, at least the bits that relate to World War II.  Series V of Foyle's War feature the end of the war and, only very briefly, the start of the peace.  But, will Foyle finally find piece?  Watch and see.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Remembered Earth:  New Mexico's High Desert.  Filmmaker John Grabowska and author N. Scott Momaday "present a vision of hope for humankind's relationship to the natural world by interpreting the myth, beauty and power of a scarred but sacred landscape of the American West."  Wow, that's quite the mouthful.   

 

Monday, July 28:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow  – "Bismarck (Hour Three)".  I'm going to level with you, I know very little about Bismarck, North Dakota.  I know very little about the Dakotas in general.  I've driven across the country twice, once down south and once more middle/northish, but I never made it to either Dakota.  I wanted to, what with Mt. Rushmore being in one of the Dakotas, but I never got there.  The Antiques Roadshow, however, did.

9:00 – 10:00PM

History Detectives. This show may be the most fascinating show ever, it really may, but its title leaves a lot to be desired.  Seriously, aren't all historians more or less detectives?  The title simply isn't descriptive or exciting enough; I much prefer a title like Josh Lasser, You’ve Been Hired as an Imagineer.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Chasing Churchill:  In Search of My Grandfather – "The Other Country".  Celia Sandys is the granddaughter of one Winston Churchill.  Well, not "one" Winston Churchill so much as "the" Winston Churchill.  In this three-part series, Celia looks at her grandfather's art and literature in attempt to better understand the man she travelled with (or so I'm told) towards the end of his life.

 

Tuesday, July 29:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “Car of the Future”. If The Simpsons has taught me anything—and I firmly believe it has—the car of the future will be designed by Homer for his long-lost half-brother who will end up going broke because of it. The car will be awesome and will cost way, way more than the average person can afford. It will, in short, be truly swell.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Wide Angle – "TBA."  That means "to be announced" as in, I can't say what the episode will be at this moment, but it will be an episode of Wide Angle.

10:00 – 11:00PM

P.O.V. – "Campaign".  Do you have any idea how Japanese Democracy works?  Neither do I.  Thankfully, P.O.V. is there to show us the intricacies of running for a seat on a suburban city council.  Plus, it sounds like there just may be a little bit of corruption involved. 

 

Wednesday, July 30:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns. Back-to-back episodes of this animated sitcom (including the premiere) follow the Tappet brothers, Click and Clack.  Or, if you prefer, people similar to (but not the same as) Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the hosts of NPR's "Car Talk" who were actually featured on an episode of Nova a while back.  Now you wonder why they were in that episode, yes?

9:00  – 10:00PM

Nova ScienceNOW. ScienceNOW is the newest addition to the Nova family, currently in its third 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.  This week you've got a story on the Phoenix lander, a story about a couple of fossilized mammoths, and a tribute to Judah Folkman.  By my count that's only three stories; if I had to guess the last one will be double-sized, but that's just a guess.

10:00  – 11:00PM

Carrier – "Rites of Passage".  Well, here it is, again, PBS has previewed it over and over and over again, and now the time has finally arrived. Carrier is here (in repeat fashion). The series follows a group of people on board the USS Nimitz, from admirals on down to newbie sailors. It promises to be a fascinating look not just at this mammoth aircraft carrier, but the Navy in general.

 

Thursday, July 31:

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  – "Bismarck (Hour Three)".  I'm going to level with you, I know very little about Bismarck, North Dakota.  I know very little about the Dakotas in general.  I've driven across the country twice, once down south and once more middle/northish, but I never made it to either Dakota.  I wanted to, what with Mt. Rushmore being in one of the Dakotas, but I never got there.  The Antiques Roadshow, however, did.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – "Matchbox Twenty".  After five years of not making music together (in the studio anyways), the band is back with a new album.  Apparently it has some new stuff on it, but pretty much it sounds like it's a greatest hits deal or, as my description here says "a retrospective collection of 11 previously released smash singles."

 

Friday, August 1:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4804. 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 on PBS #430.  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 #1216. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,216th 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 be).

10:00 – 11:00PM

China from the Inside – "Shifting Nature".  This episode in the series takes a look at the problems that the rapid industrialization has wrought on the environment of the country.  I wonder if they've updated this from the first time it aired now that the Olympics are about to start and the environmental issues with that have been widely reported. 

 

Saturday, August 2:

8:00 – 9:00PM

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.

 

All that's really left, scene-wise in The Sword in the Stone ride is Arthur's pulling of the sword from the stone.  Now, while I say "all that's really left," it is, quite clearly, one of the most important parts.  It needs to be grand, it needs to be big.  The sword needs to positively glow when the Wart grabs it.  Light from heaven needs to shine down on him when it comes free.  It wouldn't be a bad thing either if there were knights in the background that kneeled to Arthur once the sword came free.  I think the air needs to sparkle when it winds up in Arthur's hand.  It's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, it's the Imagineers. 

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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.