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Yup, it's time for another week of good old PBS programming. Hooray!

PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 1/14

Sigh. The mid-January doldrums are upon me. The movie industry is dumping the stuff not deemed fit for the Oscars though they thought at one point it might be. The folks on the broadcast networks are trying to get me back into their good graces by finally airing new programs and begging me to forgive them for the endless weeks of repeats they’ve inflicted upon me. Thank goodness for PBS. They’re always out there and ready, willing, and able to provide me with great drama and oodles and oodles of non-pandering reality and documentary goodness.  

Sunday, January 14:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Nature – “The Best of Nature – 25 Years”. My perverse reading of this seems to indicate that this means that nature has only around for 25 years, instead of Nature having been around for 25 years. There are many jokes on this theme, some of them involving Al Gore being not-so-correct. Some of those jokes are actually funny. I like those jokes. I don’t know any of them in order to be able to tell them here, but I like them.

9:00PM – 11:30PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “The Virgin Queen”.  This is part two of two in a mini-series exploring the 40-year reign of Elizabeth I. Last week we all learned how Elizabeth I came to power. This week we learn how she held onto it with an iron grasp and thwarted all of those that came to challenge her. Thwart, Elizabeth, thwart! 

 

Monday, January 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Honolulu (Hour Three)”. Here in hour three we get to see all those folks that didn’t arrive early enough at the show for them to be in hour one or hour two. That doesn’t mean they’re not as good as the other people, just that they’re slow. 

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – “Eyes on the Prize: Awakenings 1954-1956”. Imagine that Robin Williams is able to go back in time, to 1954, and to administer that drug years earlier to Robert DeNiro. How cool would that have been? Yeah, that’s not this, that doesn’t mean that this is bad, just that it’s about various acts of courage that helped spark the civil rights movement. 

10:00 – 11:30PM

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords. This documentary focuses on the various African-American newspapers that have existed in the country as early as the 19th century. I’m sure the title has something to do with pens being mightier than swords, or ink presses being mightier than swords, and the latter is probably true. I’d imagine you could smash many a sword if you could toss an ink press hard enough.

 

Tuesday, January 16:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Arctic Passage ‘Prisoners of the Ice’”. All those British folks think they're so wonderful, don’t they? With their smart ties, worsted suits, their accents and their Cockney rhyming slang (I’ll send you down the apples and pears head first if you don’t watch it, that I promise). This should take them down a notch — it seems as though in 1845 two Royal Navy ships set off to uncover some elusive Arctic route to somewhere. Rather than succeeding, they resorted to murder and cannibalism. Either that or they were poisoned. Nova is on the case. 

9:00 – 10:30PM

Frontline – “Hand of God”. I like the way this show is titled, that’s because the “hand of God” they’re referring to is that of a pedophiliac Catholic priest and it's reaching into the pants of several young boys. It’s both a clever and a mean title, and I’m all for it.    

10:30 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – “Shadya”. Shadya Zoabi is a 17-year-old karate champion and a Muslim in an Israeli town. This show takes a close look at the contrasting aspects that make up her character and how she reconciles all of them. 

 

Wednesday, January 17:

8:00 – 9:00PM

22nd Century. I must be slow. I just don’t understand what I’m reading here. The first sentence about this show states “would you like to know what the world is going to be like 30 years from now?” While I would absolutely answer “yes” to such a question, unless my math is off, 30 years from now is not the 22nd Century. 94 years from now is the 22nd Century, but 30 years from now isn’t. Right?

9:00 – 10:00PM

China From The Inside – “Shifting Nature”. I’m still pushing for the whole stereoscopic effect thing (see last week’s listings). This episode in the series takes a look at the problems that the rapid industrialization has wrought on the environment of the country. 

10:00 – 11:00PM

China From The Inside – “Freedom and Justice”. Same series. This episode however focuses on religious worship and how it’s problematic for many people in China. It also deals with various civic problems including persecution of various groups, AIDS cover-ups, and other nefarious activities. 

 

Thursday, January 18:

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 Three)”. Please see above joke.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – “Rob Thomas”. Rob Thomas plays from the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. You know Rob Thomas, he’s that guy from Matchbox Twenty and that Santana song. You know the one I mean. 

 

Friday, January 19:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4629. I imagine by now they have the format down. I’d take a look at the show if I were you. 

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW #303. 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 send me e-mails (I think that makes me cool and them nice).    

9:00 – 10:00PM

Cézanne in Provence. For those of you who don’t know, Cézanne was a post-impressionist master, many think of him as the father of modern art. This show looks at how he was influenced by his native Provence. 

10:00PM – Lengths Vary

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – “#142”. There’s a sketch in this one about TV programmers making decisions based on the idiocy of the viewing public. And here lies another joke I won’t touch.

 

Saturday, January 20:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “The Dixie Chicks”. They’re chicks. They’re from Dixie. And, as the political pendulum of public opinion has swung away from President Bush they’re on the rise again. Shame on all of you who abandoned them in their hour of need only to be pretending to never have done so. 

 

So, that’s this week’s deal. Next week’s deal will be new, different, and yet oddly familiar. There is a certain ebb and flow here that I find comforting. I imagine This Old House will still be on, and that Antiques Roadshow will find themselves somewhere new and wonderful next week. I look forward to finding out. And I’m sure you do too.

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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