Monday , May 20 2024
And here it is, a new year, a new week, a new set of PBS programs to watch. Does life get better?

PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 12/31

And for this week’s preamble I’d like to recall last week’s preamble, the Salma Hayek preamble. Wasn’t that a nice preamble? I liked that preamble. That’s the kind of preamble that can keep you warm on a cold winter’s night. Not like that fluffy old preamble to our Constitution. That’s pure malarkey and nonsense I tell you, malarkey and nonsense. 

Sunday, December 31:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Live From Lincoln Center – “New York Philharmonic: Audra McDonald Sings the Movies for New Year’s Eve”. See, it’s live AND it’s from Lincoln Center. In the past there used to be confusion. Some people thought it was Live, others that it was from Lincoln Center, turns out, it’s both. Additionally, there will be a woman, Audra McDonald, and she’ll sing movie songs.

10:00PM – 1:00AM

Great Performances – “Garrison Keillor’s New Year’s Eve Special”. Now this particular special IS live, but it’s not from Lincoln Center. Garrison Keillor will be there, and the there in this case is Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. 


Monday, January 1:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Honolulu (Hour One)”. Do people in Honolulu own old things? I didn’t realize that there was a market in shipping old things to Honolulu, just shipping people there for the drinks, the beaches, and the golf. Maybe this episode is all about drink glasses, beach blankets, and golf clubs. 

9:00 – 10:30PM

Great Performances – “From Vienna:  The New Year’s Celebration 2007”. Vienna’s Philharmonic will be there and Zubin Mehta “will lead the renowned orchestra in a selection of buoyant Strauss Family waltzes.” No joke, these waltzes float. Now that I’d pay to see.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Encore!  With James Conlon – “Beauty or Truth?” Umm… okay, let me see if I can explain this show involves pianists discussing the different opinions of beauty through the ages.  Where exactly the “truth” bit comes in I just don’t know. But, this I promise, it will be there. Oh yes, it will.


Tuesday, January 2:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “The Mummy Who Would Be King”. So, there’s a mummy sitting on a shelf in a museum at Niagara Falls. There are some who are of the opinion that this might be the body of Ramses I. The scientist-types are looking into it. My opinion? I’m glad you asked, I think that he probably went there on his honeymoon, as all honeymooners do, went over the Falls in a barrel, as everyone who visits does, and the rest is history.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “The Dark Side”. Frontline takes a look at the division that developed among some of Bush’s top people following September 11 as to what exactly the targets in the “War on Terror” should be. Should the U.S. go after Iraq and other nations in the Middle East or look at non-state players such as Al Qaeda? 

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – “A Fish Story”. The tale of women who fight a battle against environmental groups for control of the ocean. It’s fishing tradition vs. health of the ocean in a battle to the death. Two ideals enter, one ideal leaves. 


Wednesday, January 3:

8:00 – 9:00PM

TBA. So totally and completely my favorite musical group ever. Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls…

9:00 – 10:30PM

American Masters – “Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens”. Annie Leibovitz’s younger sister turns the camera on Annie. Annie in turn explains who she is, where she has come from, and her artistic process. Should you not know who she is, Annie Leibovitz is a photographer, one of the more famous and influential photographers here in the U.S.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Encore!  With James Conlon – “Beauty or Truth?” Please see above joke (or lack thereof).


Thursday, January 4:

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.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Honolulu (Hour One)”. Please see above joke.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Edens Lost and Found – “Seattle: The City of the Future”. This series as a whole focuses on the environmental rebirth of four major American cities. This week, Seattle. Seattle is apparently an enlightened city. Therefore, I don’t like them. I don’t do that enlightened thing, or I do, but not if we’re going to be all high and mighty about it, discussing how we’re soooo enlightened.


Friday, January 5:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4627. This is the next episode of the long-running public affairs series with folks from D.C.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW #301. It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly news magazine. It looks at issues facing our democracy. The show is hosted by David Brancaccio. And it’s now, now, NOW.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Story of 1. One, singular sensation, every move that I make. I’m told the “the story of the number one is the story of Western civilization.” Weird, the story of number one is also the story of this guy. This story expands on just me though, and goes into how we moved away from Roman numerals, where I’m I. 

10:00PM – Lengths Vary

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – “#140”. All about “The Golden Age of Ballooning.” At least, the Python version of the said golden age. And really, the Python version is the only version we need, isn’t it?


Saturday, January 6:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “Damian Marley”. Damian is the son of Bob. We all know Bob, don’t we? Damian is also a multiple Grammy winner and performs here with his brothers Stephen and Julian.


Such ends the first week of PBS programming for the New Year. It’s kind of like the PBS Programming that aired in the last week of the Old Year, except that all the Christmas stuff is replaced by New Year’s stuff. Next week it’ll probably be replaced by regular old stuff. Eventually you’ll probably tell me to stuff it. But until you do, I’ll keep on filling you in on PBS’s stuff. Next week, the stuff of the second week in the New Year. After that, the stuff in the third week of the New Year. If I keep going this way we’ll eventually get to Valentine’s stuff, but it seems a little foolish to go that far. 

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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