www.whyville.net Apr 4, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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Watch the shows and let me know what you think. Email me, the MediaWiz of Whyville!

Click here for an index of this week's shows. And now, the Media Menu!

Friday, April 5

"Tru Confessions" (Disney Channel, 8-9:30pm E/P) This Disney movie, based on the award-wining book of the same name, is about a high school freshman who aspires to have her own televison show. It's kind of an instructional film about how to do that. Trudy "Tru" Walker enters a cable TV contest for teens where the prize is a chance to host a TV show. Then she produces a documentary about her brother Eddie, a boy with a developmental disability. The filmmaking becomes an outlet for her to express herself, discover a greater understanding of Eddie's condition, and also help her father come to terms with the boy's disability. The movie repeats April 10 at 7pm E/P and April 15 at 8:40pm E/P

"Egg -- The Arts Show: Space" (PBS, 10:10:30pm E/P, check local listings) This edition of PBS' newsmagazine about the arts looks at the ways artists have explored the subject of deep space. Rocket scientists and sci-fi writers aren't the only people who have been thinking about the mysteries out there.

Saturday, April 6

"Fahrenheit 451" (American Movie Classics Channel, 3:15-5:15pm ET, 12:15-2:15pm PT) This is a movie based on Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi novel about a future where reading is forbidden and the main job of a city's fire department is to burn books. (In the movie they show up in minutes when some sets off an alarm that a stash of books has been discovered.) If you're already a book reader -- secret or otherwise -- the end of this movie may move you to tears. But at the same time it will stick in your memory as a sort of parable of hope for the future of smart, good people facing thoughtlessness and malice. Available on video. Definitely read the book, too. Further info including a study guide and chapters of the novel at www.lapd.org/F451. During April, the populace of Los Angeles, where Bradbury lives, is being encouraged to read the book to honor the author and promote reading. This pro-book activity was pioneered in Seattle and Chicago. What's an appropriate book for your city?

Sunday, April 7

"Shakleton" (A&E Network, Part I, 8-10pm E/P) This new movie about a scientific expedition to cross Antarctica in 1914 has more tension and emotion than any episode of "Survivor" you will ever see. Ernest Shakleton, the leader of the trek in this movie, had dropped out of school at 16 to work on a cargo ship and eventually became obsessed with the idea of reaching the South Pole. Later, just as WWI broke out in Europe, he began an Antarctic odyssey via sea, land and icefield that should have killed him and his crew. Unlike the current TV depictions of survival in the wilderness, the strongest personality in the group, Shakelton in this case, didn't dump the others when there was a crisis. He resolved to get every one of his crew of 28 through the years of danger -- yes, years -- safely back home. Kenneth Branagh stars. (Part II airs Monday April 8, 9-11pm E/P) Further information at www.aetn.com.

"Nature: Song Of The Earth With David Attenborough" (PBS, 8-9pm E/P) This is a documentary about the natural history of music. Really natural -- going back to when humans devised music by listening to the calls, cries and songs of animals.

"The Rockefellers" (PBS, 9-10:30pm E/P) This documentary explains how a poor boy founded a family in Cleveland that became the richest in America -- plus the most admired and the most hated at the same time. There's a website to accompany the broadcast that contains letters by the dyansty's founder, John D. Rockfeller, revealing how his mind worked. And there's an interactive game, based on his methods of running a huge energy company (Standard Oil) where you can see if you can outsmart him. Viewing note: On Tuesday, April 9 at 5pm E/P, the History Channel will air a documentary about Michael Rockefeller, son of former U.S. President Nelson Rockefeller, who vanished in the 1960's while on a scientific expedition in the Pacific. Some people think he was murdered.

Monday April 8

"What Happened After...?" (History Channel, 4-5pm E/P) This documentary series specializes in showing what happened to people long after they were involved in some famous historical event. The second half of this 2-topic program shows what eventually happened to the crew of the 1914 Antarctic expedition which has been turned into a TV movie (see above) airing this week. The movie, plus this documentary, plus another documentary this week (see below) containing pictures from the actual event, provide a rare opportunity to look at scientific expedition from 3 different viewpoints.

"Ernest Shakleton: Looking South" (A&E Network, 8-9pm E/P) This documentary uses the actual photographs of the 1914 Antarctic expedition dramatized in the movie, "Shakleton" airing this week. By an unusual coincidence, you will be able to get a idea of how tough it was to get photos of this kind and bring them back to civilization if you watch Part II of the movie -- airing tonight after this documentary. The photographer's struggle is depicted in the movie -- including his having to dive into icy Antarctic waters and enter a sinking ship to save this pictorial record of the expedition.

Tuesday. April 9

"Henry Moore: Carving A Reputation" (Ovation Channel, 8-9pm ET, 5-6pm PT) This is part I of a documentary about the English sculptor whose work you have maybe seen pictures of and thought to yourself, "so that is what modern art looks like". And you would be right. The son of a miner, Moore always said that "chipping away at stone was in my blood" and he became the best known sculptor of modern times. The show is an interesting psychological study of how an artist behaves when he has a keen awareness of his own ability. No "aw, shucks, t'warn't nothin'" false modesty here. (Part II airs April 16 in the same time slot.)

Wednesday, April 10

"Transcontinental Railroad" (History Channel, 7-8pm E/P) This is a documentary about technological competition. A hundred years before the space race to get to the moon -- Russia versus the U.S. -- there was a race between two private companies to span the American continent by laying railroad track. Imagine teams of Irish workers working westward and teams of Chinese workers working eastward -- each building 10 miles of rail bed and track every day over mountains and rivers until they met at a point in the Utah desert.

Thursday, April 11

"The Unexplained: Daredevils and Thrill Seekers" (A&E Network, 5-6pm E/P) This documentary is another of the kind where I want to warn you "don't try this stuff at home". It describes the genetic and psychological factors that cause people to seek situations where they risk life and limb in quest of a thrill. Examples shown are a skateboarder who races down city streets at 80 mph and a grandmother who rides broncos and bulls at rodeos.


Friday, April 5
    Tru Confessions
    Egg -- The Arts Show: Space

Saturday, April 6
    Fahrenheit 451

Sunday, April 7
    Nature: Song Of The Earth With David Attenborough
    The Rockefellers

Monday, April 8
    What Happened After...?
    Ernest Shakleton: Looking South

Tuesday, April 9
    Henry Moore: Carving A Reputation

Wednesday, April 10
    Transcontinental Railroad

Thursday, April 11
    The Unexplained: Daredevils and Thrill Seekers


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