Saturday , September 19 2020
The creation of the Sword in the Stone ride continues (Imagineer Quest Part 2, as I like to call it).

PBS Primetime Programming for the Week of August 10

So, the Sword in the Stone ride (the ride I would create were I an Imagineer and given the chance)… we've been talking about it for several weeks now and I hope you've been paying attention. There's something there, I'm convinced of it. There's something truly and wonderfully special about it. What's more magical than King Arthur? Children of all ages love knights and castles and wizards and queens. We've been talking recently about the conveyances for the riders; read below because I think I worked some of it out.

 
Sunday, August 10

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – "The Dolphin Defender." I like the way you think, but no, this is not about Echo. You know, Echo the dolphin, who has, on several occasions, saved all the world. No, instead this is about Hardy Jones, a filmmaker who, 25 years ago, decided to learn all he could about dolphins and has since decided to protect them (Echo is, after all, only a videogame character).

9:00PM – 10:30PM

Masterpiece Mystery! – "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Series VII – 'Limbo.'" The eighth Earl of Asherton (that would by Thomas Lynley) is still distressed about the death of his wife, but that doesn't stop him from solving crimes. Well, it has stopped him until recently, back he's back in the saddle now.

10:30PM – 11:00PM

Nova – "Anatomy of a Hurricane." How exactly is a hurricane constructed? What exactly is one made of? Oh! I know! The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida can tell us. They can! They can! They did! They did! This is, after all, a repeat; it originally aired back in 2006 and was filmed two years before that.

 
Monday, August 11:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – "Providence (Hour Two)." I have a special fondness for the Providence episodes. The second time this set of episodes aired was for my first "PBS in Primetime." Well, I started writing these pieces for the second hour, I didn't to do all three of them. Even so, I feel a certain kinship to them.

9:00 – 10:00PM

History Detectives. This show may be the most fascinating show ever, it really may, but it’s title leave a lot to be desired. Seriously, aren't all historians more or less detectives? The title simply isn't descriptive or exciting enough, I much prefer a title like Josh Lasser, You’ve Been Hired as an Imagineer.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami. That's right, the man spent years in Miami and they may have influenced him. After his gold medal in Rome, Cassius Clay went to Miami. He spent a number of years there, and they may have changed him… they may have helped convince him to change his name to Muhammad Ali.

 
Tuesday, August 12:

8:00 – 9:00PM

“Kings of Camouflage.” Yup, all about army surplus. Wow. Stunning, deafening silence. Bad joke. Not funny. I hereby withdraw it. Mea culpa. This is actually an in-depth investigation into the cuttlefish. The easier joke, the one about cuddling, I will avoid, having already offended your senses in this description.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Wide Angle – "China Prep.” As you may or may not know, the Summer Olympics are currently taking place in Beijing, China. That's a perfect excuse for PBS to air documentary after documentary after documentary about China and they're taking full advantage of it. This one follows four Chinese students as they become "molded" into the next generation of leaders.

10:00 – 11:00PM

P.O.V. – "Belarusian Waltz." In a piece of "performance art" a lone individual stages a bunch of different little stunts to mock the Belarusian dictator. Yeah, that doesn't seem like a good way to find yourself disappeared right quick. I'm assuming, I think correctly, that the dictator isn't exactly of the "benevolent" type.

 
Wednesday, August 13:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns. Back-to-back episodes of this animated sitcom (including the premiere) follow the Tappet brothers, Click and Clack. Or, if you prefer, people similar to (but not the same as) Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the hosts of NPR's "Car Talk" who were actually featured on an episode of Nova a while back. Now you wonder why they were in that episode, yes?

9:00 – 10:00PM

Nova scienceNOW. ScienceNOW is the newest addition to the Nova family, currently in its third season (this particular episode is actually from season two, though). Episodes in this series look at a variety of topics over the course of a single episode instead of just one thing for the whole hour. This week you've got a story on a 90-year-old virus that could help with papyrus scrolls and a 250-million-year-old murder mystery. Wow.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Carrier "Get Home-itis." Well, here it is, again, PBS has previewed it over and over and over again, and now the time has finally arrived. Carrier is here (in repeat fashion). The series follows a group of people on board the USS Nimitz, from admirals on down to newbie sailors. It promises to be a fascinating look not just at this mammoth aircraft carrier, but the Navy in general.

 
Thursday, August 14:

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 – "Providence (Hour Two)". I have a special fondness for the Providence episodes. The second time this set of episodes aired was for my first "PBS in Primetime." Well, I started writing these pieces for the second hour, I didn't to do all three of them. Even so, I feel a certain kinship to them.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Out of Left Field: The Making of the Chinese Olympic Baseball Team. Remember what I said just a little while ago? I think it was " As you may or may not know, the Summer Olympics are currently taking place in Beijing, China. That's a perfect excuse for PBS to air documentary after documentary after documentary about China and they're taking full advantage of it." See, it's still true.

 
Friday, August 15:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4806. 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 #432. 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 #1218. It’s Bill Moyers. It’s his 1,218th 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

Shore Things. Twelve years ago this documentary first aired and yet, it might be just as true today. We in this country love our beaches, we love going to vacation at the beach. Rick Sebak is going to tell us all about a couple of beaches in this country and some of the people who frequent them. It's kind of like going to the beach yourself, without the increased risk of skin cancer.

 
Saturday, August 16:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – "Ladysmith Black Mambazo”. You know you're heard of them, they've been around for something like 40 years. Plus, they have one of the greatest names for a group ever. You know it is. Just say it one time – Ladysmith Black Mambazo… okay, say it one more time – Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Awesome.

 

As we talked last time, it's crucially important for the conveyances, horses usually, to be able to morph into the various different animals – swim like a fish, fly like a bird, run like a squirrel. I think I've worked out the fly like a bird part. For the majority of the ride, the conveyances travel on the ground. If you recall the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland (and World), those go from being on the ground to flying. Why not have the horses do the same thing, only for a shorter period of time? Why not, when the bird transformation occurs have the horses hoisted into the air. And, why not create a mirror effect like in Haunted Mansion when the ghosts join the carriages to convince the riders that they're in birds? Totally doable, totally the right way to go.

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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