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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of March 29

So, for our next Imagineer adventure, we're building a new ride based on the utterly classic radio program, TV program, movie, and novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Of course, our ride will take place, for the most part, on the Heart of Gold, with its most famous Improbability Drive. It will make the adventure possible, just highly, highly improbable. It will also be fun, fantastical, and truly Disney.

 

Sunday, March 29:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Kilauea: Mountain of Fire." Kilauea is on Hawaii's Big Island and has been erupting constantly since 1983. Frankly, it's awesome. It's not some huge eruption or anything like that, there's just lava always flowing from it, sometimes into the sea, sometimes onto the land. I saw it going into the sea. Pretty great stuff.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Classic – "Little Dorrit (Part One)." This is a massive five-part miniseries starring Matthew Macfayden as Arthur Clennam and Claire Foy as Amy "Little" Dorrit. The story, which focuses on the rags to riches to rags story of a family was apparently one of Dickens' favorites, what with his own dad spending some time in a debtors' prison, much like Amy's dad.

 

Monday, March 30:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Chattanooga (Hour One).” I imagine that the Chattanooga stop is all about trains and ancillary train products. You disagree? You can't really disagree, can you? You've forgotten about the Chattanooga choo choo haven't you? You leave Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four, read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore. It's the Chattanooga choo choo.

9:00 – 10:30PM

American Experience – “Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.” This week American Experience ventures to Guyana. It investigates and relates the history of Jonestown and the mass suicide that occurred there.

10:30 – 11:00PM

PBS Previews: We Shall Remain: American Experience. I always find it funny when PBS promos a future miniseries by airing, repeatedly, these half-hour deals. I understand the notion behind previewing something like this series — which explores the Native American perspective on pivotal moments in U.S. history — but they air them so many times I wonder if some of the magic of the actual piece is lost.

 

Tuesday, March 31:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Last Extinction.” In Spring 2008 a scientific team announced that they had figured out about an impact from space that destroyed tons of animal life (more than 34 different types of animals in fact). It's kind of a controversial claim and deals with a comet breaking up over the Great Lakes. Watch, learn more, and decide for yourself.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – "Sick Around America." An earlier episode of Frontline delved into the "Sick Around the World." Well, much like the protectionist policy people have advocated for with our recent economic troubles, Frontline is narrowing the scope of its concern to the sick in this country alone. There are problems people, big problems, with health care and the sick.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "Recycle." No, no, this isn't a "go clean up in your neighborhood you slovenly types" kind of a thing. There is recycling, but it's an ex-Mujahedeen soldier who does the recycling. His name is Abu Amar, and he just has wanted a peaceful life after fighting in the Soviet-Afghan war.

 

Wednesday, April 1:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change. Long name here and only a half-hour to deal with quite a difficult subject. Queen Latifah and John Mayer are in the show (as hosts of a sort I presume) and tell the stories of service members returning home from the war and the families trying to figure out a "new normal."

8:30 – 9:00PM

PBS Previews: We Shall Remain: American Experience. I always find it funny when PBS promos a future miniseries by airing, repeatedly, these half-hour deals. I understand the notion behind previewing something like this series — which explores the Native American perspective on pivotal moments in U.S. history — but they air them so many times I wonder if some of the magic of the actual piece is lost.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Jerusalem: Center of the World. Jerusalem is one of the most fought over and discussed cities in the world. It is important to three major religions, all of whom kind of feel it's "theirs," and who, at certain points in history haven't minded shedding more than a little blood to keep it theirs. Watch what happened.

 

Thursday, April 2:

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 “Chattanooga (Hour One).” I imagine that the Chattanooga stop is all about trains and ancillary train products. You disagree? You can't really disagree, can you? You've forgotten about the Chattanooga choo choo haven't you? You leave Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four, read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore. It's the Chattanooga choo choo.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Out of Faith. This documentary follows three generations of a family which was torn apart by interfaith marriage. I'm not going to lie to you, I have no idea whatsoever how anyone can complain about interfaith marriage. I simply don't. No, no, don't comment and try to explain to me why, I won't and can't accept it. Live and let live people, live and let live.

 

Friday, April 3:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4839. 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 #514. 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 #1251. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,251st 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

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 (and, just for the record, this is the same episode that airs earlier in the week).

 

Saturday, April 4:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "The Arcade Fire." Ah, the "Canadian indie rock marvel" is on this episode. They're here to promote their second album. Can you be a marvel if you only have two albums? I guess, or, maybe they just toss the word marvel around a little too freely these days.

 

If you look at Disney rides, you'll find that many of them have hosts. This one will too. No, not Arthur or Ford or Zaphod, not even the voice of the narrator (though that'll be there). No, our host will be Marvin, the Paranoid Android. Who could possibly be a better host than a Paranoid Android? Think about all the trouble he'll get us into.

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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