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The creation of the Sword in the Stone ride continues.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of December 14

The greatness that is the Sword in the Stone ride may take a massive leap forward six months from now. Six months from now I'll be venturing down to Disney World on a little fact-finding mission. I'll be there to examine all the various possible locations for the ride, I'll try to corral an Imagineer, I'll do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. Wait, strike that last bit, it's part of Lincoln's Second Inaugural.

Sunday, December 14:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History." The chimp is one of our closest living relatives. Oh, you wouldn't invite them over for dinner (even Thanksgiving), but that doesn't mean that they're not a near relative of ours. For our part, we've treated them worse than we treated poor black sheep Uncle Steve. We've shot them into space, put them into solitary, and infected them with diseases. We're bad people. Or are we?

9:00 – 10:00PM

Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East Los Angeles. This bad boy is narrated by Edward James Olmos and if he doesn't spell awesome, I don't know who does. If you watch, Olmos will tell you all about the Mexican-Americans who "expressed their identity through music."

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton. Merton was a monk. No, Merton was a writer. No, Merton was both. He will be examined herein, he will be looked at, contemplated, and discussed. His soul will be searched (hence the spiffy title).

 

Monday, December 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Trash to Treasure.” Oh! Oh! Oh! It's a special episode! There are going to be more than 20 stories here of people finding treasure in the trash. You know, people apparently went dumpster diving and made a fortune from it. Good for them! Hopefully they bought their kid something nice for the holidays.

9:00 – 9:30PM

Get Ready for Digital TV. Two lovely gentleman from This Old House, Norm Abram and Kevin O'Connor, are here to tell you all about getting ready for digital TV (as the transition is coming in February 2009). Pretty much the answer is that if you have cable or satellite you're fine and that if you don't you're probably going to need a converter box and the government will give you a coupon to buy one.

9:30 – 11:00PM

Richard Tucker Gala: An Opera Celebration. Coming to you direct (in a roundabout fashion) from New York City's Lincoln Center (nice place to see a show, tough to park) comes this little ditty. It's got stars singing songs written by stars. It features the orchestra being conducted by Maestro Asher Fisch.

 

Tuesday, December 16:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Pocahontas Revealed”. Not that way, you sick, sick man. She was just a girl. This special takes a look at that girl, finds out who she was, what made her tick. Why she stopped ticking. That sort of thing. Personally, I want to know if she ever tocked. I wonder if we'll find out.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Independent Lens – "Wonders are Many: The Making of Doctor Atomic." How to make an opera. Or, more specifically, how to make this opera, this one particular opera. It was composed by John Adams and directed by Peter Sellars. It is the tale of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the bomb he made. Or it's the story of all that, I get confused sometimes.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Get Ready for Digital TV. Two lovely gentleman from This Old House, Norm Abram and Kevin O'Connor, are here to tell you all about getting ready for digital TV (as the transition is coming in February 2009). Pretty much the answer is that if you have cable or satellite you're fine and that if you don't you're probably going to need a converter box and the government will give you a coupon to buy one.

 

Wednesday, December 17:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Great Performances – "Dance in America: San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker." In this version of The Nutcracker, the story actually takes place at (or during) the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition. Do you even need me to tell you that said exposition took place in San Francisco? Why that city thinks that it's important enough to move the location of the story in this ballet, I can't fathom.

10:00 – 11:00PM

L.A. Holiday Celebration 2008. It's the highlights (and thank goodness only the highlights) of the six-hour Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration. Here's an odd little tidbit about the show – though this is the "2008" celebration, it's actually the highlights of what happened in 2007.

 

Thursday, December 18:

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 – “Trash to Treasure.” Oh! Oh! Oh! It's a special episode! There are going to be more than 20 stories here of people finding treasure in the trash. You know, people apparently went dumpster diving and made a fortune from it. Good for them! Hopefully they bought their kid something nice for the holidays.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Faith Hill, Joy to the World: A Soundstage Special Event. Faith Hill has a new album! It's a Christmas album! Consequently, she's going to be promoting it on Soundstage with this little special. She sings a selection of songs from the album and probably has a grand old time doing it. Good for her, good for us, good for everyone (I do like my Christmas music).

 

Friday, December 19:

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 #450. 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 #1236. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,236th 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 – "The Day Pictures Were Born." This is the second 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 20:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Bloc Party/Ghostland Observatory." So, here's what I wonder. Is the Observatory in Ghostland, is it an observatory of Ghostland, or both? Then, does the Bloc Party take place inside the Observatory itself or outside it? Did they have to rent out the Observatory for the party? These are the sorts of things I wonder.

 

I know the idea that just struck you. You figure that I've been doing this Sword in the Stone ride thing for almost six months now and that I'm going to give it a rest for six months until I visit Disney World and learn more. Yeah, that's not the case. The impending trip just means that I need to come up with more bits, more pieces, more thoughts, more odds, more ends. So, come on, throw out some thoughts.

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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