Tuesday , February 27 2024
Go PBS, go PBS, it's your birthday (not really), get stupid.

PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 1/21

As we gear up for another exciting, action-packed week of PBS programming I’d just like to put forth the following disclaimer: my jokes are not funny. They’re not. I try to make them funny, but the funny just doesn’t often come. Don’t read each individual joke as an individual joke. You have to read the entire thing to truly get the flavor of the piece. And all the other PBS programming pieces, they have a certain feel to them that is moderately amusing, taken as a whole of course. If you don’t find them amusing it’s simply because you haven’t read every single word, or every single word enough times.


Sunday, January 21:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Nature – “The Queen of Trees”. I don’t know what, or who, exactly the queen is. However, I’m betting it’s a wasp and that this whole deal has to do with co-evolution. I wonder if that makes a tree the queen of wasps a tree. Or maybe the queen of people apple pie, and the queen of apple pie buttery goodness and then the queen of buttery goodness people. It’s a quandary.

9:00PM – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “Jane Eyre”.  Part one of two in this new-to-you (it has aired in England but not here in the U.S.) four-hour version of Jane Eyre, the classic novel by Charlotte Brontë. Don’t ask me which Brontë sister that is, I get them confused. I just know it’s not the brother, he was a man. That would make him king of buttery goodness.

And, if that's not enough about this little particular program for you, check out the full review here


Monday, January 22:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Philadelphia (Hour One)”. 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

American Experience – “John and Abigail Adams”. And now I’m about a half-second away from belting out tunes from 1776. Aw, to heck with it, here goes… EVERYONE: Sit down, John! Sit down, John! For God’s sake, John, sit down! I say vote yes! Vote yes! Vote yes for independency! Sit down, John!


Tuesday, January 23:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Arctic Passage ‘Ice Survivors’”. Following last week’s episode where the British fail to make a successful journey, this week Nova picks up with Roald Amundsen of Norway trying to navigate the Northwest Passage. It's gotta be the fjords. 

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “The Cell Next Door”. I thought this was going to be a science thing, you know, cells and bacteria and communication and the like. Not so much. Frontline is going inside a Muslim terrorist cell accused of actions in Atlanta and Toronto.

10:30 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – “Beyond the Call”. This episode is described as “an Indiana Jones-meets-Mother Teresa adventure.” Could you possibly need to know any more about this? I really think that single phrase sells the entire episode.   


Wednesday, January 24:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Oprah’s Roots: An African American Lives Special. It’s Oprah. On PBS. It’s going to be emotional and introspective and full of questions.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Great Performances at the Met – “The Magic Flute”. This is an abridged version of the classic opera, sung in English and with puppetry playing a role. The cast is described as being “attractive” and “young.” Okay…


Thursday, January 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.

9:00 – 10:00PM

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

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – “Peter Frampton (Part 2)”. Music legend Peter Frampton performs again, including doing covers of George Harrison and Soundgarden.


Friday, January 26:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4630. 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 #304. 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).    

9:00 – 10:00PM

Oprah’s Roots:  An African American Lives Special. Didn’t see it the first time around? Check it out now. 

10:00PM – Lengths Vary

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – “#143”. It’s wacky, it’s zany, it’s Python. It’s looks like it might be Hamlet, but it’s not, it’s Python. Trust me. It’s Python.


Saturday, January 27:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “Jack Johnson/Rilo Kiley”. Johnson performs songs from his latest CD, In Between Dreams, whereas Kiley doesn’t perform from Johnson’s CD. Weird, right? 


Are we starting to get a feel for the piece and the moderate amusement to be found herein? No? Really? Are you sure? Okay, your call, read it again. And again, and again, and again. Keep on reading. Eventually you’ll get it. You just need to get awfully tired and moderately punchy, and then all of the sudden, BAM! It’s hits you like a ton of bricks. You start smiling. First just at the corners as you try to hold it back, you know you shouldn’t be smiling, but soon you’re in a full-blown grin and virtually chuckling. Shaking your head, yes, but chuckling nonetheless. Go, read it again, give it a try.

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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