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The pecan pie worked out beautifully. Seriously. I did in fact make a test pie to make sure it would work.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of November 29

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I feel as though I can tell you this with great honesty – I did in fact make a test chocolate pecan pie. It was a delicious test of a chocolate pecan pie. It was chocolaty and perfectly cooked and had an Oreo crust. No, I didn't make the Oreo crust, but I certainly ate it. I don't even regret having done so, it was delicious. The test pie actually taught me something quite important.

 

Sunday, November 29:

5:30 – 8:00PM

The National Parks: America's Best Idea – “The Morning of Creation (1946-1980).” In part six of this massive Ken Burns documentary we get brought up to the present day, or at the very least 1995. I know, it says "1980" above, but according to the description I have, there is mention of wolves being re-established in Yellowstone in 1995, which, if I understand time, occurred after 1980.

8:00 – 10:00PM

Ed Sullivan's Rock and Roll Classics – The '60s. The Ed Sullivan Show is from a bygone era. They just don't make those sorts of programs anymore… and if they did people might not watch anyway. This features HD up-converted performances of some of the best song performances from 1963-1968. Featured here are The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Mamas and The Papas… the list goes on and on.

10:00PM – 12:00AM

Andre Rieu Live in Dresden: Wedding at the Opera. As new as this may be (and it is new if this is the first time it aired), this is not live. It was recorded at Dresden's Semper Opera House in 2008. That doesn't make it any less good, nor any less interesting as it is in fact a concert and real wedding party. "Live to tape," I think they were going for "live to tape."

 

Monday, November 30:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Guido's Orchestra: Live from the Heart of Europe. Perhaps known only as Guido, and certainly only listed as Guido herein, Guido the violinist, composer, and conductor (all in one no less) performs with his wife Wendy. As with so many other concerts done on PBS (and most concerts done on TV), "live" here does in fact seem to mean "live to tape."

10:00 – 11:30PM

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live. Some of the best performances from induction ceremonies at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame over the course of the last 24 years have been compiled for your viewing please. I'm not going to say anything else about the live nature of the show, but I do think you know where I'm headed.

11:00PM – 12:30AM

Lights: Celebrate Hannukah Live in Concert. I know I shouldn't, but every time I hear about Hannukah and singing, I think about Adam Sandler. I can't help it. He doesn't appear here though. Instead it's the Klezmatics and Alberto Mizrahi among others. This program was originally broadcast in December of 2008.

 

Tuesday, December 1:

7:30 – 9:00PM

Brain Fitness Frontiers. The third and final installment of this trilogy (unless of course the trilogy goes Douglas Adams-style) delves into neuroplasticity, because apparently that just might be the key to "previously unimaginable and amazing transformations." Peter Coyote hosts the episode and maybe, just maybe, we'll all get a little smarter just by watching.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Sinatra at Carnegie Hall. Happily not given the "live" title, this concert was recorded (live) on June 25, 1980. It was a part of Sinatra's two-week engagement at Carnegie Hall, the one that followed the release of Trilogy, his triple album. As Sinatra's "New York, New York" was a part of that album, I'm betting he sings it here. Every time I hear that song I think of the Yankees winning. Woo-hoo, 2009 World Series Champs!

10:30PM – 12:00AM

Unstuck with Dr. James Gordon. James Gordon, not the lieutenant from Gotham City, is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist. He has a seven-step program (aren't they all?) which will lead viewers to a "healthier and happier life." See, the whole thing is about getting you, the viewer, unstuck. Unstuck from your upset I think, but perhaps unstuck from something else as well (like if there's a book, your money).

 

Wednesday, December 2:

7:00 – 8:00PM

Daring Kids with Miriam Peskowitz. Peskowitz is the author of The Daring Book for Girls. Using that as a springboard, what she has here is a program filled with do-it-yourself crafts and game. Plus, the description promises that these crafts, games, and what-nots won't break the bank. What could possibly be better than that?

8:00 – 10:00PM

Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart. It must be the Holiday Season again – Celtic Woman is back on PBS with a new special. Still featuring Lisa Kelly, Chloe Agnew, Lynn Hilary, Alex Sharpe, and Mairead Nesbitt, the women are performing this time at Ireland's Powerscourt House and Gardens.

10:00 – 11:30PM

Christmas with the Annie Moses Band. I can't say that I'm familiar with the Annie Moses Band, although I'm quite sure that Annie herself is in charge of it. Looking at my listings, that assumption has been proven correct. The band is actually a group of siblings and includes Alex, Benjamin, Gretchen, Camille, and Jeremiah. It's Christmas with the family, just not yours.

 

Thursday, December 3:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Science Trek. I was all worried about LeVar Burton after Reading Rainbow got cancelled for around the 25th time. Looks like I needn't have worried as Burton is back as the host of this series which shows where science fact is meeting science fiction. I think they probably combine to create science semi-fact, either that or science quasi-fiction.

9:00 – 10:00PM

The Science of Healing with Dr. Esther Sternberg. What role does the brain play in healing? What is up with that whole mind/body connection thingamajig? Great questions, glad you asked. The only thing is that you should totally have posed those questions to Dr. Sternberg. She knows; she knows and she'll tell.

 

Friday, December 4:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4922. 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 #549. 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 #1333. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,333rd 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 – 11:30PM

Straight no Chaser – Live in New York: Holiday Edition. The a cappella group Straight No Chaser is going to be performing songs from both their new EP and their new Christmas Album. That's right, the 10 men who made it big because of YouTube are going to perform songs from both albums… and that "12 Days of Christmas" thing that helped them make it big on the net.

 

Saturday, December 5:

4:00 – 5:30PM

From Mao to the Met with Hao Jiang Tian. Hao Jiang Tian tells all about his coming of age. He was born in China during the Cultural Revolution. He has since become a singer at the Metropolitan Opera. He did much in between. Just what and how and who and huh? Watch and learn.

5:30 – 7:00PM

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas. It's a brand-new Curious George special! It's a Christmas one! You know what I like about the original Curious George stories though? It's the fact that George does stuff like sucking down ether at a dentist's office. I'm not kidding, he does that, although I imagine he won't here.

7:00 – 8:00PM

Rick Steves' European Christmas. What exactly are holiday celebrations in Europe like? What is up with the filling of the shoes and the Christmas crackers and the yearly Doctor Who specials? Rick Steves explores it all, except for that last bit as this is from 2005 and the new Who Christmas specials weren't really a thing yet (the first year there was one was in 2005).

8:00 – 11:00PM

Doo Wop 50. Jerry Butler hosts this reunion of some Doo Wop performers from back in the day. In this case, that back in the day is the late 1950s and the early 1960s. Now, I can also tell you that this show originally aired in October of 2009, but I really don't think you should condemn it for that sort of thing.

11:00PM – 12:00AM

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. Odds are that this mainly focuses on that first ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Past. I say that because this originally aired in 2002 and therefore even if they were looking to the future back then, they were doing so in what is the past, thus even the future they were looking towards may in fact be the past. I'm just saying.

 

You see, for the test pie I didn't alter the regular pecan pie recipe, I just added chocolate. Consequently, I ended up with too much pie filling and over-filled my pie crust. It wasn't an issue, it was just a little messier than it had to be. Having done it wrong the first time, I was able to fix it on Thanksgiving Day, making some mini-pies to go with the main one. Test pies – genius.

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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