Tuesday , May 21 2024
It's mid-February, and PBS is still here.

PBS Primetime Programming for The Week of 2/18

Okay, I’ve decided, winter’s finished. I know, I know, it started late here in the Northeast, but I don’t really care about that. I’m done with it, really and truly. What exactly does that have to do with PBS primetime programming? Well, you see, HUT (households using televisions) levels are higher when it's cold out, and higher HUTs affect all television programming, it’s just the way it is. More households have their TVs turned on, which translates into more people watching TV, which means more people watching PBS. It’s not that more people watching PBS is a bad thing, it’s just that I needed a reason talk about my being tired of winter and I had to tie it all in to television in order to have any of it make sense. 


Sunday, February 18:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nature – “Raptor Force”. We all know about raptors. We all saw Sam Neill explain raptors to that poor little boy in Jurassic Park, but since Jurassic Park is years old, we may need a refresher. Nature will provide just that. 

9:00 – 11:00PM

Masterpiece Theatre – “Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness (Episode 1)”. Helen Mirren.  She’s back as Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison. Her boss wants her gone, but she’s not quite ready just yet. Does he feel lucky, punk? 


Monday, February 19:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Antiques Roadshow “Tucson (Hour Two)”. Trust me, even if you missed the first hour of Tucson, you can tune in to this episode. It really, really , isn’t going to make too much of a difference, I promise.

9:00 – 10:00PM

American Experience – “New York Underground”. It’s an hour all about the New York City subway system. One wonders if this was made by Brits though, because we refer to it as the “subway” not the “underground” — that’s a London thing. 

10:00 – 11:00PM

Brooklyn Bridge. Originally airing nigh on 25 years ago, this is Ken Burns’s first major documentary. It’s actually about the Brooklyn Bridge. I know, from the title you probably thought it was on the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge, but it’s not, it’s on the Brooklyn Bridge. 


Tuesday, February 20:

8:00 – 9:00PM

Nova – “America’s Stone Age Explorers”. Quick! Without cheating, tell me right now whether this show is about people that explore the Stone Age or is it on people in the Stone Age that explored. Turns out, it’s both. People from now are exploring those that explored American back in the day. Weird, but true.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Frontline – “News War: Secret, Sources & Spin (Part 2)”. The second hour in a four part Frontline series that deals with how political, cultural, legal, and economic forces are affecting the role of the press in our society. This part deals with the legal predicaments reporters face when informing the public about the war on terror (at what point is their discussing it helpful to the terrorists and therefore jailable).

10:00 – 11:00PM

Independent Lens – “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhythms”. This week we get an in-depth look at the “machismo” that’s involved in hip hop (some would substitute misogyny, violence, and homophobia for “machismo”).


Wednesday, February 21:

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, though this week focuses on the “International Latin” division. 

9:00 – 10:30PM

The Marines. Sure, we send ’em in everywhere (hence that phrase, “send in the Marines”), but in this case, crews are sent in to the Marines. See the difference there:  We send them to people vs. we send people to them. There’s a difference. Really there is. 

10:30 – 11:00PM   

The March of the Bonus Army. Yes, this does sound a little like a videogame, turns out it’s nowhere near as happy as that. It’s all about thousands of unemployed World War I vets marching to the Capital during the Great Depression. The government and military response to them may have been overly harsh. Watch this and judge for yourself. 


Thursday, February 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.

9:00 – 10:00PM

Antiques Roadshow – “Tucson (Hour Two)”. Please see above joke.

10:00 – 11:00PM

Soundstage – “Rickie Lee Jones”. Performing some of her classics like “Coolsville” and “Last Chance Texaco” (I think we all know these songs, don’t we) and some stuff of her new album, Sermon on Exposition, it’s Rickie Lee Jones. She’s been around for years, and she’ll be around for more, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore her this time around.


Friday, February 23:

8:00 – 8:30PM

Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal #4634. 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 #308. 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 – “Monty Python’s Fliegender Zirkus (Part Two)”. That last bit is German for, I believe, “Flying Circus.” Last week it was in German, which is why I’m sticking with this whole “fliegender zirkus” is “flying circus” in German. This week it’s in English, but it’s still the Fliegender Zirkus. They're kooks, those Python guys.


Saturday, February 24:

9:00 – 10:00PM

Austin City Limits – “The Killers/Spoon”. No, they're not actually spoons. They don’t play spoons either. Their just called “Spoon.” The Killers on the other hand are in fact cold-blooded murdering SOBs. Take that as you will.


In closing, I’m tired of winter. I’ve had it. I’m done with it. It’s just about enough already, that’s what I’m saying. Winter, you continue like this, and we’re going to have some serious, serious words. And not the nice kind of words either — mean, rotten, awful words. Go away. You’re welcome to return come February 2008, but not before. Get me?

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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