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The creation of the Sword in the Stone ride continues.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of December 7

That fantastic, fabulous, wondrous Sword in the Stone ride. There's something wonderful about the very act of creation of the ride that truly makes me happy. Please note that I say "creation" and not "production." I say this for a couple of very important reasons. First and foremost, I have created the notion of the ride, I have explained the ideas behind it, but it hasn't actually been "produced," it doesn't exist anywhere outside my mind and in these pages.

Sunday, December 7:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Roy Orbison & Friends: A Black and White Night. Back in the day, which in this case is slightly more than 10 years ago, Roy Orbison and a bunch of his "A-list" buds did a little performance. It was filmed at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles (which no longer exists), and as the place was all art deco-y the entire show was filmed in black and white (hence the title). I wonder if the Wilburys will show.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Brain Fitness 2: Sight and Sound. It's a sequel to the original Brain Fitness, and this time it's personal. Well, it's about learning about exercising your brain, so it's always personal. Or, at the very least, it should be, it is your brain after all.

Monday, December 8:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Portland (Hour Three).” Wow, Oregon. No one ever said that the Roadshow didn’t go to the ends of the Earth, and I’ve heard that Portland, Oregon is that. Much like with past cities, I’m not saying anything bad about Portland here, I actually really applaud the show for thrusting this otherwise benign city into the national spotlight. Maybe there’ll be a really swell rocking chair from 1821 to be found in Portland.

9:00 – 11:00PM

The Boomer Century 1946 – 2046. I like to think of them as The Second-Greatest Generation, because that sounds a whole lot better than: The Generation of People that Wanted So Badly to Change The World Back When They Were Young Before Entirely Giving Up and Going Corporate.

Tuesday, December 9:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “The Last Great Ape”. Many a year ago, a group of scientists were studying apes known as bonobos in the Congo. But in 1997 civil war broke out and the scientists were forced to leave. Finally the scientists are returning and are afraid of what they might find due to the bush meat industry in the Congo, either that or because the scientists were the handful of people that went to see the movie Congo, saw what happened to all the apes in that flick and got really, really worried.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – "Can You Afford to Retire?" Short answer – not so much. Long answer – not so much, but this episode was originally aired back in May of 2006, which is well before the current economic crisis hit us. So, while you still can't afford to retire, the reasons you can't afford to retire have changed entirely… well, maybe not so much "changed" so much as "expanded."

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens– "Doc." Let's see, there's Happy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful, and Doc. I guess that means that this is about the last dwarf. No? It's not? Oh, then it must be about Harold Louis "Doc" Humes, a literary figure who is be examined herein by his offspring, Immy.

Wednesday, December 10:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Emperors of the Ice. Penguins. You know they are talking about penguins, and I know that they are talking about penguins. What you may not know, but I do, is that they are using Crittercam for this thing. That's right, Crittercam. This is an "animal-borne research tool." I guess "animal-borne" is better than "animal born," right? Imaging passing a video camera.

9:00 – 10:30PM

P.O.V. – “Inheritance.” If you can't afford to retire (see above), I kind of doubt that you'll be leaving anyone any sort of inheritance. Thus, this episode of P.O.V. seems somewhat superfluous. I shouldn't really joke though, because this episode is all about Monika Hertwig, the daughter of Nazi mass murder Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes in the Spielberg film). She has a lot to deal with.

10:30 – 11:00PM

A Room Nearby – Stick with me here. Five people tell their life story, each apparently has their own “brick wall of loneliness.” The tales are all narrated by the animated character’s real-life counterpart. Never mind. Don’t stick with me, you explain it, because I can’t. I am, however, intrigued.

Thursday, December 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 – “Portland (Hour Three).” Wow, Oregon. No one ever said that the Roadshow didn’t go to the ends of the Earth, and I’ve heard that Portland, Oregon is that. Much like with past cities, I’m not saying anything bad about Portland here, I actually really applaud the show for thrusting this otherwise benign city into the national spotlight. Maybe there’ll be a really swell rocking chair from 1821 to be found in Portland.

10:00 – 11:00PM

A Renaissance Christmas. It's a concert. It's people caroling. Specifically, it's Chicago's Music of the Baroque Chorus and Brass. They sing, they're brassy. They're doing Christmas music in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. I may sound unimpressed, but I do love my Christmas music, so it's just how I sound, not what I think.

Friday, December 12:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4823. 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 on PBS #449. 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 #1235 It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,235th 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 – 11:0PM

How Art Made the World – "More Human Than Human." This is the first part of a five-part series which focuses on some of the biggest turning points in the history of the art world. It tries to examine how these moments help define how we see the world today.

Saturday, December 13:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Crowded House". This is Crowded House's first television appearance since the mid-'90s. I think that's probably because people don't like seeing poverty on TV or in the mass media in general. Thus, showing a Crowded House on television makes people feel bad, you know, why can't the group afford a house big enough for them all to live in.

Second, and just as nearly foremost, the implications of "production" versus "creation" are important. I don't necessarily subscribe to the ideas associated with the words, but I do think it's important to recognize that others may. The notion of "producing" something has more of a mass sensibility to it than creating does. There are probably more reasons as well; maybe we'll talk about them next week.

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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