Thursday , April 18 2024
Here it is, PBS Primetime Programming for the coming week!

PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 12/17

Ah PBS.  Is there anything better than settling down to a nice week of PBS?  Well, it’s the week before Christmas so let’s see what sort of fantastic Christmas pie they have for us this week:

Sunday, December 17th:

8:00 – 9:00PM 

Nature – “Tall Blondes”.  Sounds pretty enticing, no?  Tall blondes pique everyone’s interest, yes?  Watching them in their natural habitat (the sidewalks of New York smoking cigarettes or the beaches of Southern California deftly avoiding anything that might possibly contain calories) – yup, good TV.  Oh, wait, sorry, this is all about Giraffes.  Well, I guess they only eat leaves, so it’s kind of similar, right?

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “Carrie’s War”.  Two children who have left London during the beginning of World War II fetch a Christmas goose at Druid’s Bottom, home of the self-professed witch Hepzibah.  Outside of “London” and “World War II,” I have no idea what any of those words mean.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Encore! With James Conlon – “Being It or Playing It?”.  Is it the composer or performer in charge of really great musical performances?  Surely it has to be both, doesn’t it?

Monday, December 18th:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Providence (Hour Two)”.  Is that a 400-year-old cigar case in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

9:00 – 10:00PM

Sweetwater Rescue:  The Willie and Martin Handcart Story.  Apparently it’s the story of 1,200 emigrants from England and Europe (is that not a part of Europe, or is my geography bad?) who become stranded in Wyoming in 1856.  Doesn’t seem right that Willie and Martin get top billing if there were 1,198 others stranded as well, does it?

10:00 – 11:00PM

Niagara Falls.  Water, water everywhere.  Seriously.  The place is awfully wet.

Tuesday, December 19th:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Wave That Shook the World”.  A full review exists (or will) on Blogcritics, I promise you that.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “The Persuaders”.  An in-depth look at advertising and public relations.  They’re sneaky folks, and this show will explain to you how they think.  Then you’ll end up realizing they conned you into buying thousands of dollars worth of Christmas presents that the people you’re giving them to won’t want.  Awesome.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – “Revolucion:  Five Visions”.  The story of five Cuban photographers.  Seems as though they have different perspectives on life, the world, and the Cuban Revolution.  Wait, different people have different opinions on the same subject?  PBS, what you’re selling I ain’t buying.

Wednesday, December 20th:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Renee Fleming and Claire Bloom.  The name says it all.  My kind of auditory program. Not really visual I think, but it will be in high-definition so you can see all the nothing really, really well.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Great Performances – “Renée Fleming:  Sacred Songs and Carols”.  Apparently in this program her name is accented, and in the previous one it’s not.  I wonder if this is a John Mellencamp-type thing, a completely different person, or just a typo.  Watch and find out!

10:00 – 11:00PM

One Symphony Place:  A World Premiere from Music City.  Leonard Slatkin takes the baton in front of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for their first performance in their new home.  The NSO?  Really?  And apparently their new home isn’t the Grand Ole Opry.  I’ll stop now because otherwise there will be complain e-mails – while I like them, I won’t encourage them about this subject.

Thursday, December 21st:

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.

9:00 – 10:00PM

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

10:00 – 11:00PM

Christmas at Belmont.  There are so many possible Santa’s Little Helper jokes here.  None of them quite work because the Belmont Racetrack isn’t a dog track, and then there’s the fact that this takes place at Belmont University, not the racetrack anyway.  So many possible jokes, and yet none will be used.  It’s a sad, sad thing.

Friday, December 22nd:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4625.  Personally I was always a fan of National Journal #4601, but if #4625 is all they could get for this episode, I guess it’ll have to do.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW #251.  It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly newsmagazine.  It looks at issues facing our democracy.  The show is hosted by David Brancaccio.  And it’s now, now, NOW.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Frederica Von Stade and Bryn Terfel.  It’s just like Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Renee Fleming and Claire Bloom, except that it’s with Frederica Von Stade and Bryn Terfel, not Renee Fleming (no accent) and Claire Bloom.  Also, not in high definition. 

10:00PM – Lengths Vary

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – “#138”.  You know this show, you’ve seen this show.  And, if you haven’t, you should.  This episode allows you to play “Spot the Looney” and that’s quite the game.

Saturday, December 23rd:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “Los Lonely Boys/The Gourds”.  Apparently The Gourds do some sort of “iconoclastic country/folk/Tex-Mex/Cajun rock.”  My curiosity is piqued.  They seem to have a new album and will play some favorites from their early years.  In my mind, that means they’ve been around for a while.  I don’t know them, so I can testify to that fact, but it’s absolutely implied. 

That seems like quite the week leading up to Christmas.  Thinking about it, I’d really like to see PBS counter-program Christmas Eve and day, airing some stuff about Easter or the 4th of July.  I don’t think it’ll happen, but all you PBS programmers out there, please, just consider it.  Everyone else is doing Christmas. If you guys come out with The Ten Commandments on Christmas Eve and then up the ante with Yankee Doodle Dandy on Christmas Day, it might just work.  Come on, don’t dismiss the idea out of hand. At least consider it for two seconds before you laugh it off. 

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, Yankee Doodle Do or die, a real live nephew of my Uncle Sam, born on the 4th of July…

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.

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