Saturday , April 13 2024
PBS: Not at all like a pebble in your shoe.

PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 2/4

PBS.  It’s like a weekly gift that you find in your pocket on a weekly basis (that’s why it’s a weekly gift and not a daily gift, then you would find it daily in your pocket, but you don’t you find it weekly).  It’s not like a pebble in your shoe at all, that would be annoying, but PBS is filled with content and is not annoying.  It’s like finding an extra dollar in your pocket.  You don’t know where it came from, it may not allow you to buy much, but it’s just plain nice to have. 

Sunday, February 4th:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Underdogs”.  To me it feels odd that a venerable show such as Nature is doing an entire hour on a cartoon character.  No?  Doesn’t it feel like a weird direction for them to be headed?  Are they just doing this as a stunt for February sweeps?

9:00 – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “The Sally Lockhart Mysteries:  Ruby in the Smoke”.  Sally Lockhart, played by Billie Piper, is the center of four novels by Phillip Pullman.  Sadly for us, Pullman is not the man behind The Doctor and Sally Lockhart isn’t Rose Tyler.  That doesn’t make this bad, I just miss Rose and The Doctor.

10:30 – 11:00PM

DeFord Bailey: A Legend LostThe first sentence of the description I have says Bailey was a “harmonica virtuoso.”  See, I mistook the title to mean that the guy was at one time famous, when apparently they were going more for the tall-tale thing, because let’s face it, how could a “harmonica virtuoso” be famous.


Monday, February 5th:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Philadelphia (Hour Three)”.  This is it, the last week in Philadelphia for the Roadshow.  There’s no holding back this week.  They’ve saved the 200 year old afghans knitted by Martha Washington herself as a gift to Ben Franklin for this, the triumphant last hour in Philadelphia. 

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – “The Living Weapon”.  All about the awesomeness that is germ warfare, and our development thereof in the early 1940s and beyond.  Okay, maybe “awesome” isn’t the right word, maybe “ridonkulous destructive power” is.

10:00 – 11:00PM

At Close Range with National Geographic.  A show about a magazine photographer and the harrowing and fantastic experiences he’s had working for National Geographic.  I like to think of this as self-promotion at its finest.     


Tuesday, February 6th:

8:00 – 10:00PM

Nova – “Forgotten Genius”.   This is the story of Percy Julian, an African-American scientist and self-made millionaire.  It’s apparently something of a theme this week.  lost legends and forgotten geniuses.  Next up will be hidden monsters or something.      

10:00 – 11:30PM

Independent Lens – “Billy Strayhorn:  Lush Life”.  Strayhorn was Duke Ellington’s co-composer.  He was also a gay man living in a time when it was far less acceptable.  This is his story.


Wednesday, February 7th:

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.  Yup, that’s what it was last week, and that’s what it is this week 

9:00 – 10:00PM

The Supreme Court – “A Nation of Liberties”.  That’s probably better than a nation of Libertines, right?  A nation of Libertines doesn’t seem like a good idea at all.  Some would say we’ve already started heading down that both and are continually, inexorably drawn down it.  I disagree.

10:00 – 11:00PM

The Supreme Court – “The Rehnquist Revolution”. The last episode in this series focuses on the time from Nixon getting to replace four justices on the Supreme Court and the Court under Chief Justice William Rehnquist.  The title lets you know that things changed under Rehnquist.  That’s why they call it “The Rehnquist Revolution.”


Thursday, February 8th:

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 Three)”.  Please see above joke.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – “Lee Ann Womack with Special guest Julie Roberts”.  No, not Julia Roberts, Julie Roberts.  Doesn’t make her a bad person, just not the Oscar winning actress.  Instead, she’s a singer and will sing for us.  So will Lee Ann Womack.  They both sing country songs.  They’re country singers.


Friday, February 9th:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4632.  Another whole week has gone by and good old Gwen Ifill and National Journal are here to fill us in. 

8:30 – 9:00PM

NOW #306.  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 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 – “#145”.  It’s time for the “Most Awful Family in Britain”.  All jokes about people I know aside, the Python version is humorous.  They’re funny lads, those Python-types.


Saturday, February 10th:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “Lyle Lovett/Jamie Cullum”.  I think we all know Lyle Lovett, and for those of you who don’t know Jamie Cullum, he’s a pianist and from England.  I doubt his family could’ve won the Python contest, but not knowing them I may be wrong.  Are you reading this Jamie Cullum?  If so, I am quite curious.


For a moment I thought this was Valentine’s Day week.  It’s not, but I thought it was.  It’s not that I celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it appeared as though PBS wasn’t celebrating it either, which I thought odd.  Surely there should be a single nod to it over the course of the week, but nothing.  Then again, it’s not Valentine’s Day week, so it completely makes sense that there’s no Valentine’s Day related content.  It would just be silly if there were. 

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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