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PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of November 4

As my sugar rush begins to dwindle, one thing becomes apparently clear – there's only something like seven shopping weeks left until Christmas. Seriously people, it's coming up sooner than you can possibly imagine. I didn't want to say this before now, but I actually saw Christmas decorations available for purchase before Halloween. That's insane. It's ridiculous. Next year, can we all just agree that as soon as July 4 ends the Christmas stuff ought to go right into the stores?

 

Sunday, November 4:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “In the Valley of the Wolves.” This episode takes place in Yellowstone National Park. Now, if you set an episode in Yellowstone National park, don't you make it about Yogi and Boo-boo not a bunch of wolves? The wolves may be really important, but they don't do the whole picnic basket thing.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard – Episode 3. I must tell you, I'm quite excited for this. This show is all about Ros Pritchard (Jane Horrocks). Somehow or other this fine woman ends up running for Parliament and winning. What's more though is that her party ends up with a majority, and she becomes Prime Minister. Oh yes, it's true (in a fictionalized sense).

10:00 – 11:00PM

Art in the Twenty-First Century – “Protest. This is the second episode of the fourth season on a show about art in the 21st century. The episode will focus on four different artists, including one who is a pioneer of feminist art. Another is a landscape photographer who uses black and white images to look at war.

 

Monday, November 5:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Milwaukee (Hour Two).” Wow, Milwaukee. This brand-spanking new episode has the show going to the land of beer. I imagine that's what people bring in too, old beer that no one really wants to drink. I promise you people, in at least one of these three episodes beer will come up. Wanna bet?

9:00 – 10:30PM

American Masters – "Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character." Did you know that Carol Burnett had a difficult childhood? Well, she did. I think, for some reason, a lot of comedians have a troubled past. Now, I don't, and I'm terribly funny, which is odd, but I'm not Carol Burnett funny; maybe that's the difference.

10:30 – 11:00PM

Air Group 16: We Came to Remember. This show goes over the story of the last reunion of Air Group 16. These were folks on the U.S.S. Lexington during World War II. The show also features archival footage and first person accounts of what happened to them during the war.

 

Tuesday, November 6:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Sputnik Declassified”. Who doesn't love Sputnik? I love Sputnik; of course I don't have to deal with the mind-numbing fear the U.S. government instilled in the population about what the Russians could do to us. This episode even has a mention of Walt Disney in it… well, I don't want to spoil why he's there, just know that he's there and recall the fabulosity of Imagineer Quest 2007.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “Extraordinary Rendition”. Tonight Frontline investigates the CIA practice of kidnapping terror suspects for interrogation. Even better, they do it in countries where torture is common. Nice. We're really a classy country. Listen world, I apologize, just know that it's not me, okay?

10:00 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – “Red White Black & Blue". PBS goes to World War II yet again this week. In 1942, 3,000 Japanese troops invaded Alaska. Two U.S. soldiers who fought in the state head back there and tell us all about what happened.

 

Wednesday, November 7:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Wired Science – “Episode 106”. TBA

9:00PM – 11:00PM

The War – “The Ghost Front.” The sixth 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, November 8:

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 – “Milwaukee (Hour Two).” Wow, Milwaukee. This brand-spanking new episode has the show going to the land of beer. I imagine that's what people bring in too, old beer that no one really wants to drink. I promise you people, in at least one of these three episodes beer will come up. Wanna bet?

10:00 – 11:00PM

New York Goes to War. Oh! I get it. Veterans Day is this coming Sunday. I was wondering why all this World War II stuff was being aired, but now it makes complete sense. It really seemed odd. If it was me, and Veterans Day wasn't coming up, I may have timed this all differently.

 

Friday, November 9:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4719. 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 #345. 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 #1131. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,131st 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

Do You Speak American? – "Hour One". In this series, journalist Robert MacNeil goes across the country to explore how Americans use language. I tend to think that more often than not we abuse it, but that's just one of the things that MacNeil will be looking at.

 

Saturday, November 10:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "The Arcade Fire ". Ah, the "Canadian indie rock marvel" is on this episode. They're here to promote their second album. Can you be a marvel if you only have two albums? I guess, or, maybe, they just toss the word marvel around a little too freely these days.

 

I like Christmas, I really do. Not just because of the toys and presents; there's a sense of camaraderie and community associated with the holiday that I find truly appealing. That doesn't mean that I think Christmas items ought to be available for purchase come Labor day though. It's just too soon, isn't it? And, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't selling the stuff so early ruin the fourth quarter profits of all these companies and make the economy look worse than it actually is?

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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