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Halloween is here! Halloween is here! Yeah, not my holiday.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of October 25

This year for Halloween, my daughter… like you care. I'm quite sure that you do want to hear about my trip to Napa, and India, and goodness knows where else, but let's face it, you don't care what my daughter dressed up as for Halloween. You're here to read all about PBS' primetime programming, not what my daughter is dressing up as for Halloween.

 

Sunday, October 25:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions." It's the triumphant return of Cloud! Yes, I know you've been anxiously looking forward to this for a goodly long time, and, so has Cloud. Cloud, still living in the Arrowhead Mountains of Montana, is now in his prime! He's even got two sons, one biological and one adopted. That's right, Cloud has an adopted son named Flint. Oh yes, it's true.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Contemporary – "Endgame." Based on a true story, this political thriller looks at the end of apartheid in South Africa. It focuses on the players involved in the negotiations, looking at the secret talks and what was taking place in the country. It stars Chiewetel Ejiofor, William Hurt, Jonny Lee Miller, Derek Jacobi, and Clarke Peters. Plus, it's hosted by the Doctor.

 

Monday, October 26:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Unique Antiques.” Rather than focusing on a single city, this week the show looks at some of the most ridiculous things they have ever seen. You know, the biggest, baddest, best things they have had on in the past decade.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – "The 1930s: The Crash of 1929." In the first bit of a five-part American Experience experience, the 1930s begin, and they begin with a big bang, and by bang, I mean crash. You know what I'm talking about, and not just because it's in the title of this episode. It's one of those moments in American history and it all begins tonight… again (this is a repeat).

10:00 – 11:00PM

Herbert Hoover: Landslide. Did you know that Hoover had never actually held public office prior to his being elected president in 1928? Well, he hadn't, and, despite what some may say, Hoover didn't actually try and make the market crash. He also didn't go around naming temporary shanty towns after himself. Boy, you have a bad opinion of the man.

 

Tuesday, October 27:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – "Family that Walks on All Fours." I watched this when it was originally broadcast in November of 2006, and I have to say, quite honestly, I don't recommend it. I could if I approved of a show which suggested that some in our world are "devolving," but I don't, so I can't. It is a sad, touching story about a family with some serious issues, and those who posit crazy things about them.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – "Close to Home." Nope, not the CBS series from a couple of years back. This is, in fact, a story about how regular old folks are faring in this economy. It does that by looking at the owners, employees, and patrons of a New York City salon. Well, perhaps some of the folks in the story aren't quite "regular," but I think you get the picture.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "Journals of a Wily School." In Kolkota, India, I'm told (by the description I have) that pickpocketing is a common practice. The police, though they don't like it, have other more serious crimes they need to curtail. How exactly do they go about that? Well, they convince a pickpocket to help them track down the bigger fish.

 

Wednesday, October 28:

8:00 – 10:00PM

The Botany of Desire. How exactly do humans relate to plants? Michael Pollan knows, and he's going to tell us. He's written a book and everything. Now, if you ask me (and you do because you're reading this), he should have changed his name to Pollen just before writing the book. Pollan is a fine name, but for his subject, Pollen would have really sold the whole thing.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Art in the Twenty-First Century – "Systems." 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 artists who do incredibly complex projects. Projects that "nearly elude comprehension." Oh yes.

 

Thursday, October 29:

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 – “Unique Antiques.” Rather than focusing on a single city, this week the show looks at some of the most ridiculous things they have ever seen. You know, the biggest, baddest, best things they have had on in the past decade.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Keeping Score – Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5." Yes, that Michael Tilson Thomas fellow is back! Dmitri Shostakovich was a patriot, right up until he wasn't. But then he was again. Probably he was the whole time and it was just Stalin's opinion that had changed. He did, after all, live in Stalinist Russia and Stalin did have strong – and changing – opinions.

 

Friday, October 30:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4917. 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 #544. 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 #1328. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,328th 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? – "Collateral Damage/Not Just a Paycheck." The first part of this week's show questions how globalization is changing our health. The second is about how job insecurity/unemployment greatly alters our health care, too. Tell me about it; I don't get health care coverage for writing up these PBS doo-dads.

 

Saturday, October 31:

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Austin City Limits – "M. Ward/Okkervil River." Okkervil River – they do indie rock – follows M. Ward. I can't lie, I don't know M. Ward. I know D. Ward. I know M. Night. I don't know M. Ward. See, that's why this show is good. I can now sit down, watch, and learn all about who this M. Ward fellow is.

 

Okay, fine, you twisted my arm, I'll tell you what my daughter is dressing up as this year. We've spent a lot of time planning, and preparing, and prepping, and… that is a all a huge, massive lie, and not one I can continue telling. She got the outfit from her aunt, we've spent less than ten dollars on accessories for it, and we're not going to be embarrassed about that. She's going to have fun, no matter how over the top the outfit is. And that, my friends, is the point.

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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