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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of October 14

Here we are, mid-October and the first show of the television season has fallen, fallen like a soldier in a Ken Burns movie about World War II, fallen like an ancient Ming vase held by a butterfingers of an assessor, fallen like a fish down the gullet of a grizzly. What will happen next? Which show will disappear? Well, who knows, but I have a suspicion that it'll go down like a crossword puzzle before Will Shortz, like a moldy old wood plank in an old house undergoing home improvements, like a constitution before Dick Cheney.

Sunday, October 14:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “The Good, the Bad, and the Grizzly.” Okay, this I love. This is my kind of title for a show. It's moderately humorous, it tells you exactly what the show is about, and it references a really, really good movie. Go Nature, I applaud you.

9:00 – 10:30PM

Mystery! – “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Series VI: In the Blink of an Eye. The death of a paparazzo prompts Lynley and Havers to investigate. In this country I don't think they investigate the death of paparazzo, but they are more civilized there. This is just another reason why England is a place I'd love to live.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Antiques Roadshow FYI– “119.” This is a “magazine-style spin-off” of Antiques Roadshow. They’re going to take a look at some past items that have appeared on the show, along with the owners, and do a whole “where are they now” kind of thing. It just generally sounds like a good time, doesn't it?

 

Monday, October 15:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Philadelphia (Hour Two).” I am hoping someone brings in the Liberty Bell — that, or the Rocky Balboa statue. Seriously, how much fun would that be, watching the appraisers take a look at the Liberty Bell, see the huge crack in it and deem it worth about $100? Good times.

9:00 – 11:00PM

The Mysterious Human Heart – "Endlessly Beating" and "The Spark of Life". The first hour of this two hour extravaganza on an organ which the Grinch had too little of focuses on the muscular aspects of the heart. The second hour, ah, that focuses on the electrical mechanisms that make the whole thing work.

 

Tuesday, October 16:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – "The Ghost in Your Genes". Tonight's show is going to explore the long-held theory that all our inherited traits are passed on in the genes. Some of the scientists interviewed here think that our environment makes changes to our DNA without affecting a gene's makeup. This totally sounds like something Nova scienceNOW did last year.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “Cheney's Law”. According to the synopsis that I have, for three decades Dick Cheney has tried to expand the power of the presidency. This episode explores the battle between on one side, Cheney and the Bush administration, and on the other side, Congress, which was moderately ticked off about illegal wiretaps the administration ordered.

10:00 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – “Wordplay”. This documentary looks at Will Shortz, the editor of the puzzles in the New York Times, and the puzzles themselves. It also covers the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which is funded by Shortz. I guess being the editor at the Times pays well. Rumor has it the documentary is very well done.

 

Wednesday, October 17:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Wired Science – “Episode 103”. TBA

9:00PM – 11:00PM

The War – “A Deadly Calling.” The third part of Ken Burns’s six-years-in-the-making, 14-hour documentary looking at World War Two and the stories of people from four different areas of the United States: Waterbury Connecticut; Mobile, Alabama; Sacramento, California; and Luverne, Minnesota.

 

Thursday, October 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. 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 – “Philadelphia (Hour Two).” I am hoping someone brings in the Liberty Bell — that, or the Rocky Balboa statue. Seriously, how much fun would that be, watching the appraisers take a look at the Liberty Bell, see the huge crack in it and deem it worth about $100? Good times.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Windsor Castle: A Royal Year – "Four Seasons". A look at how different times of the year at Windsor Castle have different festivals and parties and events and rituals. You know, stuff like Easter, The Order of the Garter Ceremony, the Royal Ascot, stuff like that.

 

Friday, October 19:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4716. 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 chocolate ice cream.

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW #342. It’s the Emmy award-winning weekly newsmagazine. 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 #1128 – It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,128th 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).

10:00PM – 10:30PM

Exposé: America’s Investigative Reports #218. Each episode in this series focuses on journalistic investigations and the people that went and did them. I think it’s a dying art in this country, we’re all far too interested in the cheap hit than the in-depth story.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Antiques Roadshow FYI– “120.” This is a “magazine-style spin-off” of Antiques Roadshow. They’re going to take a look at some past items that have appeared on the show, along with the owners, and do a whole “where are they now” kind of thing. It just generally sounds like a good time, doesn't it?

 

Saturday, October 20:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Femi Kuti". Femi Kuti is a Nigerian bandleader and political activist all wrapped up into one. He plays music on this show. So, if you watch the show you are more than likely going to see this guy play music. It's that sort of a program.

 

Wow, Halloween is coming fast, faster than anyone can imagine. Can you believe that the year is almost over? That Halloween is almost here (and virtually gone)? What will Halloween bring this year? Perhaps a new Saw movie, perhaps a few too many snack-size Snickers bars down a ten year-old's gullet, perhaps a child dressed up as Camilla the Chicken? Bonus points to anyone who can correctly identify where Camilla the Chicken comes from.

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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