Sunday , March 3 2024
More Hitchhiker's! Movin' on up!

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of June 28

I think I've worked out the best way to do the Hitchhiker's ride.  I think that it's completely possible to do it on a big screen as though we're in a ship looking out the viewscreen, keep it a relatively small audience, and still get live actors in there.  I may be wrong, but I think I've worked it out (but I'm no engineer).


Sunday, June 28:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Encountering Sea Monsters.”  Is Nature beyond the point where they feel like they need to come up with, you know, nature stories? Sea monsters? Really? It sounds like a stunt for sweeps. But it’s now only the July sweep, which hardly counts. Weird.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Poirot – Mrs. McGinty's Dead."  He's back!  David Suchet is back!  These are all-new (as of 2009) Hercule Poirot mysteries, and that is awesome.  I kid you not, I am excited by the notion of David Suchet returning to the character created by Agatha Christie.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Fort Niagara: The Struggle For a Continent. Fort Niagara is at the mouth of the Niagara Rivera, in Youngstown, NY. This is a strategic location. There is strategerie involved with it. That means that you have to think about it and figure it out and hold it at all costs. And if that’s not enough, there’s high definition videography involved.


Monday, June 29:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Tampa (Hour Three)." I wonder if the things that appear at the Roadshow in Tampa are imported by snowbirds from New York. Either that or they recall the moments back in the day when the Buccaneers were a good team. 

9:00 – 10:00PM

History Detectives. They’re back again! Those History Detectives are going to be puzzling out clues, working the scene of the crime, and hoping against hope to solve that greatest mystery of them all: how did Fred Flintstone manage to run fast enough that his big, heavy car started to move? Seriously now, that’s a question about history and one I feel ought to be answered sooner rather than later.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Make 'em Laugh: The Funny Business of America – "Breadwinners and Homemakers: Honey I'm Home." Herein lies an episode of a six-part PBS miniseries hosted by Billy Crystal and narrated by Amy Sedaris. Tonight, as the tile indicates, the show goes into the "domestic farce." As an example, just think "Lucy, I'm home!"


Tuesday, June 30:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – "Musical Minds."  Ah, aren't musical minds the most beautiful minds?  No?  Well, aren't they interesting at least?  Dr. Oliver Sacks thinks they're interesting.  He wrote a whole book about them, and he's a pretty smart guy, so if he thinks there's something to them maybe we should too.  This episode, by the way, relates to the aforementioned book.  

9:00 – 10:00PM

Nova scienceNOW – "Episode 401."  ScienceNOW is the newest addition to the Nova family and is currently in its fourth season. Episodes in this series look at a variety of topics over the course of a single episode instead of just one thing for the whole hour.  Tonight, among other things, anthrax (the disease, not the band).

10:00 – 11:30PM

P.O.V. – “Beyond Hatred.”  Several years ago three skinheads murdered a gay man in Rheims, France.  This is a "vérité" style film about the aftermath of the crime.  It seeks to understand the struggle for some sort of justice following the murder and the way the family dealt with the situation.


Wednesday, July 1:

8:00 – 9:30PM

American Masters – "Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes."  Everyone knows of Garrison Keillor, and if you don't you should – you're missing something, something crucial.  Surely you at least know of Lake Wobegon – where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.  You don't?  You must watch, you must learn, you must become an educated human being.

9:30 – 10:00PM

PBS Previews: National Parks. Soon, but not yet, PBS will airing a Ken Burns special all about our national parks. Apparently he thinks they were one of America’s best ideas. I know that because “America’s Best Idea” is the subtitle for the series. I’m like Sherlock Holmes

10:00 – 11:00PM

Wide Angle – "Crossing Heaven's Border."  There is a segment of the North Korean population which would rather live in South Korea.  A portion of this segment of the North Korean population which would rather live in South Korea actually make the perilous and illegal trip.  A slice of the portion of this segment of the North Korean population which would rather live in South Korea and who actually make the perilous and illegal trip have been captured on film for your viewing pleasure.


Thursday, July 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 – "Tampa (Hour Three)." I wonder if the things that appear at the Roadshow in Tampa are imported by snowbirds from New York. Either that or they recall the moments back in the day when the Buccaneers were a good team. 

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – "Sugarland."  First you've got your Jennifer Nettles.  She sings.  Then you've got your Kristian Bush.  She plays the mandolin.  Put the two together and you've got your Sugarland.  They sing and play the mandolin.  They are also performing on Soundstage tonight.


Friday, July 3:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4901. 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 #527.  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 #1312.  It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,312th 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

Inside – "Rolling Stones in Rio.”  At the Copa, Copacabana, Copacabana Beach.  Okay, that's not quite the way the song goes, and the song wasn't sung by the Stones, but it is where they're playing this concert… in front of somewhere around 1.5 million people.  Let's see, what's the average price of a Stones' ticket?  $150?  So that's 1.5 million people at $150 a head, that's… more money than I'll ever see.


Saturday, July 4:

11:00P M – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Paolo Nutini/Grupo Fantasma."  The U.K. sensation and Austin's own Grupo Fantasma do their thing.  Their "thing" is playing music.  One plays soulful pop, the other high-energy Latin funk.  I don't want to spoil it and tell you who does what. 


Let me ask you this – why can't the ship, the relatively small ship, move?  Create a single room with a screen, throw it onto a track and have it go in a big oval.  The characters that need to jump on and off (and they're won't be that many) then don't end up too far out of position for the next ship they need to get on.  If the track is actually set up correctly with appropriate twists and turns, the characters can end up in exactly the right spot.  Plus, forget faking the sensation of movement, there'll actually be movement.  Okay engineers, why won't that work?

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.

Check Also

BotCon: A Look Back at ‘Beast Wars: Transformers’

"You're not standing there doing a voice; you're doing a character."