Friday , February 23 2024
Now it's almost Halloween. Six months ago? Not so much.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of October 18

The week after this week is Halloween.  Well, the very tail end of the week after this week anyway, and because of that I'd like to tell you something that has been bothering me greatly as of late.  I know that I've complained about things before, but seriously, this one is a doozy and it's about time that you and I had a serious conversation about it.


Sunday, October 18:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Rhinoceros”.  A wise man once said, "The rhino and I know the pain of back bustin' like the farmer knows the pain of his pickup truck rustin'."  No, that's not right, that was the wino, not the rhino.  Like the wino, the rhino drinks, but the rhino mainly drinks water, and, three rhino species on the brink of extinction.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "Inspector Lewis, Series II – The Point of Vanishing."  For those of you not steeped in British police drama culture, "Inspector Lewis" is a spinoff off of "Inspector Morse."  For his series, Lewis heads to Oxford to solve crimes (a small-time criminal ends up going down this week and a celebrity atheist is involved).  I'll certainly be watching (or will have watched it already depending on how things work out). 10:30 – 11:00PMTuba U:  Basso Profundo.  All about the tuba.  You've got your tuba players.  You've got your tuba builders.  You've got your tuba rebuilders.  You've got your tuba rerebuilders.  You've got your 22-piece musical ensemble.  You've got you 100-member tuba group.  Tuba?  Tuba. 


Monday, October 19:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "San Antonio (Hour Two)". Ah, Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas. Is it better in Texas though? Is it older in Texas? Has It been kept in better condition in Texas? My understanding is that it's pretty dry in Texas, maybe that has helped preserve the various items that the antiquers bring in.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Latin Music USA – "The Chicano Wave/Divas and Superstars."  Jimmy Smits takes on the role of narrator in this series about the influence of Latin music on jazz, hip hop, rhythm and blues, and rock 'n' roll.  Tonight we're actually getting two episodes, the first on Mexican Americans in Texas and California and the second on latin pop stars like Mr. Ricky Martin and Ms. Gloria Estefan.


Tuesday, October 20:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – "Lizard Kings."   I love the Lizard King.  Every since I had the first time to play against him, I knew that he and I would be friends for decades.  And, we have, we really have.  I think I've gotten the better of him recently though, he now even calls me the Lizard Emperor.  That, and this episode looks at lizards in Australia (the King assures me he hasn't been).

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – "The Warning."   There are lots of different warnings out there.  There are warnings about heat waves, cold snaps, hurricanes, bad movies.  Was there however a warning about the economic meltdown?  Was there something we missed?  Did Roger Ebert know about it before the rest of us?

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "Butte, America."   I know what you're thinking because I thought it too.  You're thinking to yourself, "boy that America, she's a Butte," but I think that's really pretty insensitive.  This hour is going to tell you all about Butte, the town that "plumbed and electrified America."  Without Butte, we'd all be visiting outhouses – bet you feel pretty foolish about your mocking comments now.


Wednesday, October 21:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Great Performances  – "The Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala with Gustavo Dudamel."  Dudamel, who arrived on the scene 10 years ago at the age of 18 is now the brand new music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Come, watch him do his thing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  It promises to be an exciting night (and one that will, perhaps, features some extreme stunts!).10:00 – 11:00PMArt in the Twenty-First Century – "Transformation."  Is there art in the 21st Century?  Is there?  I don't know.  Certainly this show argues that there is, and this week's episode focuses on those who inhabit the characters they create.  Not literally in a John Candy Delirious living in the world he created sense, but I think you probably already knew that.


Thursday, October 22:

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 – "San Antonio (Hour Two)". Ah, Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas. Is it better in Texas though? Is it older in Texas? Has It been kept in better condition in Texas? My understanding is that it's pretty dry in Texas, maybe that has helped preserve the various items that the antiquers bring in.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Keeping Score – "Ives: Holidays Symphony."  That Michael Tilson Thomas fellow is back!  This week though he's going after Charles Ives, exploring who Ives was and how Ives became a "musical maverick."  I don't know much about Ives right now (I'll learn more watching this program), but I can tell you that he had something to do with New England at the outset of the 20th century.


Friday, October 23:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4916. 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 Double Dutch Chocolate ice cream.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW on PBS #543.  It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly news magazine. 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 #1327. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,327th 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

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? – "Bad Sugar/Place Matters". This week the episodes look at a Native American reservation in southern Arizona and Richmond California. In the former location, clearly, Native Americans, and in the latter Southeast Asians and Latinos who have moved into already neglected African-American neighborhoods.  


Saturday, October 24:

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "Andrew Bird/St. Vincent."  Bird, Bird, Bird – Bird is the word.  Either that or Vincent, you know, the whole "the world was never meant for one as beautiful as you" Vincent. Or not, because I'm thinking that this Bird wasn't that word, and that St. Vincent isn't the Van Gogh one.  The former guy here is a an eclectic singer type and the latter an indie pop one.


Do you realize – and I'm sorry if I've told you this before, but with the holiday fast approaching it's on my mind again – that Halloween candy was on store shelves before Labor Day.  Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is?  That's two months early, one-sixth of a year, that's a long, long time, and it's just plain wrong.  No, strike that, it's not plain wrong, it's super wrong.  Super duper wrong.  If you're one of those people out there buying Halloween Candy in August and Valentine's Day cards on December 26th, for the love of god, I beg you to stop.  It's just not right.


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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