Saturday , April 13 2024
The last entry (by me) in this feature.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of March 21

As I sign off of this column, I thank you for taking the time to read it for the past three-plus years. It has been an incredibly interesting experience putting this weekly feature together, and I hope that my foolish and generally poor attempts at witticisms have done less to put you off the column than to intrigue you about PBS's lineup.


Sunday, March 21:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "What Females Want and Males Will Do (Part Two).” Do males in the animal world pick the females or do the females pick the males? Perhaps, just perhaps, it's a mite more complex than that. I don't know, but there are tons of scientists out there who are desperately trying to find out. It seems as though the females pick, but it's not quite as simple as all that. Watch and find out.

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.


Monday, March 22:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Baltimore (Hour Three)". I used to live in Baltimore. I know about antiques in Baltimore. The city mentality is antique. The city's actions are antique. The city's persona is antique. And, none of that is antique in a good way; it's all, frankly, just old and outdated.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – "The Lobotomist". The New York Times – yes, that New York Times – hailed the lobotomy as a "surgery of the soul." Turn out that they may have made a mistake. A mistake was also made by Walter J. Freeman, who helped make the surgery popular (albeit for a short period of time). Learn more about Dr. Freeman and his surgery here.

10:00 – 11:00PM

American Masters – “John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature.” Bon. Audubon. An in-depth look at the American version of the suave British super-spy. His catchphrase: “Budweiser… bottle, not can.”


Tuesday, March 23:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Cracking the Maya Code”. A few brave souls spent years figuring out the Mayan system of hieroglyphs. It was not an easy task. It was not a simple task. It is not a task that ever needs to be duplicated. That's because it's been done. These guys did it and these guys did it right (I hope).

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 – "Lost Souls (Animas Perdidas)." Back in the day (i.e., 10 years ago), the person who went on to make this film, Monika Navarro, found her uncles deported. Said uncles had actually been servicemen. The film explores not just their plight but the notion of national identity as well.


Wednesday, March 24:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Great Performances at the Met – "Dance in America: NY Export: Opus Jazz." This is a new production of the 1958 Jerome Robbins' "ballet in sneakers." If you're interested in such things that probably means a whole lot more to you than it does to me. It's not that I don't care to learn, it's just that I still have a long way to go.

9:00PM – 12:00AM

Great Performances at the Met – "Les Contes d'Hoffmann." D'Dustin Hoffman, that is. Wait… what's that you say? It's not Dustin Hoffman? It's actually Bartlett Sher directing the piece which is all about German Romantic writer E.T.A. Hoffmann? Okay… if you say it is we'll believe you, but I'm still pushing for that guy from The Graduate.

Thursday, March 25:

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.

9:30 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Baltimore (Hour Three)". I used to live in Baltimore. I know about antiques in Baltimore. The city mentality is antique. The city's actions are antique. The city's persona is antique. And, none of that is antique in a good way; it's all, frankly, just old and outdated.

10:00 – 11:30PM

The Powder and the Glory. Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein apparently had quite the rivalry. They both wanted to end up with gussied up women, and move makeup from brothels and Broadway to Main Street. They succeeded and today PBS has programs sponsored by the "Helena Rubinstein Foundation" and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salons are all over the nation. I'm not sure who won.


Friday, March 26:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4938. 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 #613. 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 #1348. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,347th 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

Time Team America – "Range Creek, Utah." New week, new episode (except that this is not only a repeat, but a repeat that was repeated just last week). This time out, our team has three days… only three days… to unearth and examine the remains of the Fremont Indians, a group of Native Americans who vanished 1,000 years ago (give or take).


Saturday, March 27:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Ben Harper and Relentless7." Oh man, it's not just Ben Harper here – I mean, Ben Harper is great all by himself, but still – it's also his brand-spanking new band, Relentless7. Are there seven of them? Are they relentless? I'm dying to know, just dying to know. However, I'm going to have to do just like you and watch it to find out. I do hope we'll find out.


I wish that I could close this final entry with something touching, something poignant, something with the panache of a "good night, and good luck" or even a "Good night, Chet," "Good night, David." Such sentiments aren't particularly my forte however. I do appreciate your having read the column, I do appreciate the good things the column has led to, and I do hope that should someone else take up the writing of this column they manage to impart more knowledge about PBS's upcoming programs than I have heretofore managed.

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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