Friday , February 23 2024
Memorial Day - a time for burgers, beer, and a Quantum of Solace.

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of May 18

My sources tell me that NBC did not pick up the pilot for the U.S. version of Top Gear.  I think that's a grievous mistake the network has made, and one that they will regret.  I don't mean that as a threat in any way, shape, manner, or form, I just think that it was a bad decision.  Seriously.  I could have hosted it, and I would have worked for scale.  Scale I tell you, scale!  I guess I can take a Quantum of Solace from the fact that it's not just me who isn't hosting a U.S. version of Top Gear, no one is.


Sunday, May 18:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "Rhinoceros”.  A wise man once said, "The rhino and I know the pain of back bustin' like the farmer knows the pain of his pickup truck rustin'."  No, that's not right, that was the wino, not the rhino.  Like the wino, the rhino drinks, but the rhino mainly drinks water, and, three rhino species on the brink of extinction.

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece – "Cranford – Episode 3". This is part two of a three part series and based on the writing of Elizabeth Gaskell.  Better than that though, it's about a small, little, tiny, miniature, if you will, English village which, for some reason, "comes to life with gossip, parties, romances, sudden death, bankruptcy, and the railroad.


Monday, May 19:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow  – "Las Vegas (Hour Two)".  I've been to Vegas… several times.  It's always new and different (not necessarily better, but possibly).  I am shocked to think that the series could find much that is old there, at least unless they redefine "old" to mean "pre-Sinatra." 

9:00 – 11:30PM

American Experience – "FDR 'The Grandest Job in the World'/'The Juggler'".  From boy to President, FDR's life was not an easy one.  We all have our hardships, but FDR's get chronicled in this multi-hour American Experience.  He did some incredible things in his time, but what kind of person was he?


Tuesday, May 20:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova  – “Lord of the Ants”.   I wonder if they can Riverdance, or, at the very least, riverbed dance.  Okay, quite honestly, this has nothing to do with dancing, except in the way that dancing relates to sociobiology.  That's because this "lord" is E.O. Wilson who studied and ants and developed the notion of sociobiology.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline  – "Growing up Online". My sister is seven years younger than I am. I remember the first time I saw the Internet, I remember that there wasn't always a computer in the house. She does not. She sees the world differently than I do. At least some of that is because there has always been an "online." How much of her difference is the online thing and how much is it that she's just weird?

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – "A Dream in Doubt".  While our nation espouses high ideals and equality for all, we don't always practice what we preach.  In the wake of September 11 there was a rise in hate crimes against individuals that appeared (to some) as Muslim.  Terrence Howard hosts this look at those crimes.


Wednesday, May 21:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Secrets of the Dead – "The Hunt for Nazi Scientists.”  I’ve seen the movies, they all went to Brazil.  Some even decided to try and clone the Fuhrer.  Talk about a weird movie with a sick and twisted bad guy behind it all.  My goodness, those Boys from Brazil.      

9:00  – 11:00PM

Depression:  Out of the Shadows.  This is a two hour, in-depth look at depression and various depression disorders.  People with depression discuss their experiences and experts offer commentary.  The first 90 minutes is a documentary, and the last 30 a panel discussion hosted by Jane Pauley.   


Thursday, May 22:

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  – "Las Vegas (Hour Two)".  I've been to Vegas… several times.  It's always new and different (not necessarily better, but possibly).  I am shocked to think that the series could find much that is old there, at least unless they redefine "old" to mean "pre-Sinatra." 

10:00 – 11:00PM

Phoenix Mars Mission:  Ashes to Ice.  Three days after this program airs the Phoenix Mars Lander is scheduled to touchdown on the red planet.  This hour long documentary looks at the history of the lander from inception through the billions spent on it, and what it will do upon landing (if it does land, and doesn't break on the way down).


Friday, May 23:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4747. 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 on PBS #421.  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 #1207. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,207th 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).

10:00 – 11:00PM

Retirement Revolution – "Hazards and Vicissitudes". Over the past several decades, retirement has changed. There are, as this episode will explain, new hazards and vicissitudes. Paula Zahn will delve into these hazards. She will explore the vicissitudes. She will tell the stories of real people.


Saturday, May 24:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “R.E.M.” OMG!  I love those guys.  I remember when I first heard "Orange Crush" and saw the video that accompanied it.  I didn't get it (I was young), but I liked it.  Well, the band is back and promoting their new album, Accelerate.  Maybe it's up-tempo, who knows.


Well, happy Memorial Day weekend to all of you out there in internet-land.  My wife is working all day Sunday and half of Monday, so it's not like I'm going to be running around having a great barbecue and jumping into my grandparents' pool like I did back in the day.  I'll still have fun though, there will be things that I'll do that I'll enjoy.  And, I'll take a Quantum of Solace from the hamburgers I'll eat.

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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