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The creation of the Sword in the Stone ride continues.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of December 28

The ever-popular The Sword in the Stone ride.  The end all, be all, big all, one for all.  Last week, if you recall, I asked you what I could do to cajole you into read the introductions and closings of this weekly column.  I tried, I think, to impress upon you the incredible importance (to me, anyway) of the openings and closings.  I have since realized a massive mistake in the way I approached my question.

Sunday, December 28

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Unforgettable Elephants.” I know the joke they're making and fine, I'll play along. Really? An elephant is unforgettable? That's funny because I always thought the line went that elephants never forgot. Ha, ha, ha, oh so funny.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Theatre – "Prime Suspect:  The Final Act."  It's Helen Mirren's last go-round as Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison.  If you like Mirren, if you like Tennison, if you like detective fare, you'll like this journey to the seedier side of things.

Monday, December 29:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Wild Things."  Oh wild things, you make my heart sing.  Oh wild things, you make everything… well… groovy.  And, if you ask me, there's really nothing groovier than sculpture of a "kangaroo bird."  That's right, a kangaroo bird.  Wild things, I think I love you. 

9:00PM – 12:00AM

Great Performances – "Doctor Atomic."  John Adams, not the former President of the United States of America, has created an opera about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the guy who became death, the destroyer of worlds.  Alan Gilbert is the conductor for the night, and swings a fine baton.

Tuesday, December 30:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – "Is There Life on Mars?"  You know, I wouldn't be surprised if there was.  I'm one of those people who figure it highly unlikely that we're the only "intelligent" form of life in this universe.  Maybe it's not on Mars though.  Spirit and Opportunity and even Phoenix have taken a gander, and tonight you can find out some of what they learn.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – "The War Briefing". There will be a number of massive challenges facing our next president. A massive number. Clearly not all of them are the fault of our current president, but that's neither here nor there. Frontline is going to examine the upcoming challenges our next Commander-in-Chief will face in terms of foreign policy.

10:00 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – "Operation Filmmaker."  In this episode of the series an Iraqi film student finds himself working on a Hollywood movie.  Cultural misunderstands ensue.  One assumes that there will be some funny, some serious, and a whole lot of people trying to make the best darned Hollywood film they can.

Wednesday, December 31:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Live From Lincoln Center – "New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve Gala Concert."  Tenor Roland Villazon sings with the Philharmonic on New Year's eve.  How nice is that?  I wonder why the show doesn't stay live at Midnight for the actual new Year.  Maybe Villazon has a date.

10:00PM – 12:00AM

Live From Lincoln Center – "New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve Gala Concert."  Tenor Roland Villazon sings with the Philharmonic on New Year's eve.  How nice is that?  I wonder why the show doesn't stay live at Midnight for the actual new Year.  Maybe Villazon has a date.

Thursday, January 1:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Great Performances – "From Vienna:  The New Year's Celebration 2009."  Wow.  This is the 25th annual New Year's Day celebration from Vienna.  How swell is that?  I do have to be honest with you, though; this is a repeat.  You can watch the show live from 2:30 to 4:00 ET on the same day.  I'm not saying it won't be great delayed by a few hours, just that should you be home and not a college football person this is available.

9:30 – 11:30PM

Cinema's Exiles:  From Hitler to Hollywood.  Good old Sigourney Weaver.  I don't mean "old" in terms of her age, just in terms of her being a reliable star for a number of decades.  Well, here Ms. Weaver is examining the Germans who managed to leave Germany between 1933 and 1939.  That group included such luminaries as Peter Lorre, Hedy Lamarr, and Fritz Lang. 

Friday, January 2:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4826. 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 #501.  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 #1238  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,238th 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

How Art Made the World – "Once Upon a Time."  This is the fourth part of a five part series that 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, January 3:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Lucinda Williams/Old Crow Medicine Show."  I don't think I'd refer to Lucinda Williams as an "old crow."  But I wonder if the "medicine show" referred to herein means that she takes drugs during the episode.  Fingers crossed.

You see, I asked you in the opening and closing paragraphs how to get you to read the opening and closing paragraphs.  Now, I ask you, if you're not reading the opening and closing paragraphs, how can I ask you in them what exactly I can do to get you to read them.  Do you see the issue?  It's a doozy.

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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