Saturday , April 13 2024
Forget calling it PBS, how about we change it to PBYES?

PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 1/28

PBS is amazing. It’s a bastion of BBC-esque wisdom wrapped up in a candy shell of Americanness, kind of like the chewiness at the center of a Tootsie Pop (do they still even make those?). You can almost sing it, can’t you? The world looks mighty good to me, cause PBS is all I see, whatever it is I think I see, becomes like PBS to me. 


Sunday, January 28:

8:00 – 9:30PM

Nature – “Rhinoceros”. This episode of Nature focuses entirely on the majestic hippopotamus. That’s right, the producers of the show decided to pull a fast one on us, suckering us in with thoughts of rhinos but delivering only hippos instead. Can you imagine? I kid people, lighten up, it’s about rhinos, okay?

9:00PM – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “Jane Eyre”. Part two 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 and therefore not a sister.


Monday, January 29:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Philadelphia (Hour Two)”. So, people have old things and they bring them to antique dealers to find out how much their old stuff is worth. Some of it is worth a lot, some of it not so much. But at least everyone that attends knows exactly how much the dusty stuff in their attic might fetch at auction.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – “The Berlin Airlift”. No, silly, they didn’t airlift Berlin, that’s a city and not possible. Rather, after the Soviets blockaded the city on June 24, 1948, the U.S. and allied forces delivered more than 4,500 tons of supplies daily. Take that, you pesky Reds!

10:00 – 11:30PM

The Power of Choice: The Life and Ideas of Milton Friedman. Friedman won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1976 and was a teacher and scientist. This is the story of his life and career as narrated by Charles Emerson Winchester III from the good old 4077th.   


Tuesday, January 30:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “Crash of Flight 111”. Nova explores the cause of the tragic crash of Swissair Flight 111 into the sea off the coast of Nova Scotia while en route from New York to Geneva.    

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “The Meth Epidemic”. Methamphetamine is a huge addictive drug and meth abuse is on the rise. Frontline takes a look into the whole problem.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – “Twisted”. This week IL focuses itself on people with live with dystonia, which is a neurological disorder that forces muscles to twist into abnormal shapes. As you can imagine it can be quite painful and makes sitting, lying down, or moving in general very difficult.


Wednesday, January 31:

8:00 – 9:00PM

America’s Ballroom Challenge. Imagine Dancing with the Stars without the stars. Which makes it, more or less, dancing with dancers. 

9:00 – 10:00PM

The Supreme Court – “One Nation under Law”. The premiere episode in this series follows the creation of the court, focusing on John Marshall, if my 11th grade American History class doesn’t fail me, it was under Marshall that the notion of judicial review truly gained prominence. 

10:00 – 11:00PM

The Supreme Court – “A New Kind of Justice”. Vigilante justice. That’s right, this episode focuses on the supreme court justices going out and taking the law into their own hands, vigilante style. Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets to wear chaps and a six-shooter. Actually, it’s about the court during and after the Civil War.


Thursday, February 1:

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 Two)”. Please see above joke.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – “New York Dolls”. The New York Dolls were a punk rock band before punk rock existed. They broke up in 1977 and reunited in 2004. They have a new album out. Go forth and listen to their music.


Friday, February 2:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4631. 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 #305. 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

America’s Ballroom Challenge. Please see above joke.

10:00PM – Lengths Vary

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – “#144”. It’s wacky, it’s zany, it’s Python, and this time it’s all about the most dangerous man in the world, Mr. Neutron.


Saturday, February 3:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “Wilco/Bright Eyes”. This is a themed episode on musical innovation.  You see, both bands are innovative bands. They didn’t do the same thing everyone before them did, they did something new. It’s like they made a whole new thing. 


See, look at that, you have your British BBC-esque wisdom (complete with Monty Python) and the candy shell of American stuff like Austin City Limits or Nature. It’s healthy, it’s sweet, it’s an absolute delight. Absolute. Delight. Keep on trucking, PBS!

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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