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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of August 3

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I'm quite certain that The Sword in the Stone ride (the ride I would create were I an Imagineer and given the chance) could be a smash hit. And I think a lot of that hangs on the carriers that the people ride in. Think about the Peter Pan ride — that ride is fantastic, and it's not just the storytelling, it's the fact that you go up in the air and look down on the ride. As my people will be on horses, we can't quite do that look, but we need to do something special. Read below for more.

 
Sunday, August 3

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Horse and Rider." There's a certain bond that has to exist between horses and their riders, or, if you prefer, riders and their horses. That's actually an interesting question. Does the horse choose the rider or the rider the horse? I don't know if the show will answer that question, but it should.

9:00PM – 11:00PM The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's. Though this look at Alzheimer's originally aired in the beginning of 2004, the final half hour tonight will be a new panel discussion hosted by David Hyde Pierce. The show itself won an Emmy for its examination of the disease. And things have changed in the research over the last four years, which is why the last half-hour is new.

 
Monday, August 4:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Providence (Hour One)". I have a special fondness for the Providence episodes. The second time this set of episodes aired was for my first "PBS in Primetime." Well, I started writing these pieces for the second hour, I didn't to do all three of them. Even so, I feel a certain kinship to them.

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. 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 – "Worth Doing Once". 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 traveled with (or so I'm told) towards the end of his life.

 
Tuesday, August 5:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova - “Dimming Sun". Did you know that our planet is growing dimmer? Due to pollution less light reaches the earth's surface than used to. And, apparently, this can, somehow, enhance global warming. Wow, too much sun leads to global warming, too little sun leads to global warming; if it is cooler where you are, that is because of global warming, if it is warmer where you are, that is because of global warming. It is kind of a catch-all, isn't it?

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. – "Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music". Don't be fooled, this is not a "new" show. It's actually from 1969, having been made right after Cash's Folsom Prison album hit big. It was directed by Robert Elfstrom and actually has a duet with June Carter Cash and Bob Dylan. How much fun is that?

 
Wednesday, August 6:

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 a pill to increase the human lifespan, and another on a hypothetical space elevator. It'll also talk about how satellite imaging is helping archeology and profiles a "Bacteria Whisperer."

10:00 – 11:00PM

Carrier "True Believers". 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, August 7:

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 – "Providence (Hour One)". I have a special fondness for the Providence episodes. The second time this set of episodes aired was for my first "PBS in Primetime." Well, I started writing these pieces for the second hour, I didn't to do all three of them. Even so, I feel a certain kinship to them.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – "Kenny Chesney". I'm not really qualified to talk about Kenny Chesney. My sister, now, she'd know about Kenny Chesney. I can tell you that he will sing "Beer in Mexico" in this performance, and that sounds like a great song. That sounds like the kind of song I should be downloading from iTunes.

 
Friday, August 8:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4805. 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 #431. 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 #1217. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,217th 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).

10:00 – 11:00PM

China From The Inside – “Freedom and Justice”. This episode focuses on religious worship and how it’s problematic for many people in China. It also deals with various civic problems including persecution of various groups, AIDS cover-ups, and other nefarious activities.

 
Saturday, August 9:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Sufjan Stevens/Calexico”. I read that Sufjan Stevens is a "critical darling and indie rock sensation." I also read that Calexico "dazzles with a unique blend of traditional songcraft and southwestern roots music." To me, that sounds a lot like people talking about the hints of chocolate, lime, and ginger that might appear in wine.

 

So, the folks on the ride are there on horses, but the horses need to, somehow, some way, almost morph when the transformations to different animals take place. I'd like to see them gallop (as horses do) when they're horses, but when Wart turns into the various animals, the horses need to change as well. That's really the rub, isn't it? How to get these horses to be more than just horses. My goodness, I wish I was an engineer, I wish I knew what my options were here, let me think about it, and I'll get back to you.

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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.