www.whyville.net Aug 29, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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As we approach the first anniversary of 9-11, TV is carrying many shows about the emotional, religious and also the technological aspects of the event. I have chosen some shows suitable for family viewing, in the sense that parents may want to watch with their kids.

Watch the shows and tell me what you think. Email me, the new MediaWiz of Whyville!

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

Thursday, August 29

"Icebreakers" (History Channel, 10-11 pm E/P) This documentary about the problem of smashing through 10-foot thick ice sheets to get from one place to another may be just what you need if it turns out that you're sweltering on the day it's aired this week. You'll see some of the toughest ships ever built ramming through the ice of the infamous Northwest Passage and the frozen Great Lakes.

Friday, August 30

"Dateline NBC: Towers Of Strength" (NBC, 8-9 pm E/P) This is a documentary about what happened at New York City's High School For Leadership and Public Service, located one block away from where the Twin Towers once stood, on September 11, 2001. As revealed in recent in recently filmed interviews, no one knew if planes would strike just the Towers, so Principal Ada Dolch led her staff and 500 students out of her school's area to Battery Park, half a mile away, still not knowing if terrorists would strike somewhere along the route.

"NOW With Bill Moyers" (PBS, 9-10:30 pm E/P) This special 90 minute program from the World Summit on Sustainable Development currently being held in Johannesburg, South Africa. A co-production with the BBC, features a discussion with leading experts grappling with the issues and outlining technical and business solutions to the complex environmental and health facing us earthlings.

Saturday, August 31

Next@CNN (CNN, 1-1:30 pm ET, 10-10:30 pm PT) Stuck in the house today? Well, the topic of this technology news program may be of interest. It's about how to use your cell phone to play interactive games with other cell phone users.

"A Violent God" (History Channel, 3-4 pm E/P) If you're still hanging around the house and are ready for something on TV that's controversial, and on top of that, scholarly, watch this documentary that asks why there are so many tales of bloodshed, murder, and war in the Bible , a book with a main message of peace and love. On-screen, scholars will analyze the role of violence in both Biblical times and the modern middle east.

"16 Acres" (CNN, 8-9 pm E/P) This documentary in the "CNN Presents" series takes on one of the most wrenching questions following the terror attacks on New York: What to do with the now hallowed ground under the fallen twin towers? There are competing plans for rebuilding Ground Zero. What do they say about our nation and our culture in the post 9-11 world?

Sunday, September 1

"In Depth" (C-SPAN2/BookTV, noon-3pm ET, 9am-noon PT, repeating 5-8 pm ET, 3-6 pm PT) This is the main author-interview show on the U.S. cable industry's special channel dedicated to books. On this occasion, Howard Zinn, historian and playwright, will be discussing his amazingly wide range of books (For a full list of his books, log on to http://www.booktv.org/feature/index.asp?segID=2735&schedID=145.) including his controversial "A People's History Of The United States", which Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are working to turn into a TV documentary series. There lots of stuff in that book, and peppered throughout Zinn's works which will make your eyes go perfectly round with wonder. And it's all true. Examples abound in his new play, "Emma", (available in paperback via Amazon, etc.) based on the life of Emma Goldman, a woman who set out to save the world from greedy businessmen.

"Depth Charge" (Discovery Channel, 9-10 pm) This technology documentary reports on what happened when some of the world's best oceanographers plus some amateur ocean enthusiasts ("ocean groupies"?) tried their hands at engineering and construction. The setting is Texas A&M's Institute of Nautical Archaeology where teams of high school and college students plus ocean research scientists and U.S. Navy experts compete -- sometimes with humorous results -- to build the most watertight and blast-proof underwater crafts.

Monday, September 2

"Liberty's Kids" (PBS, 7-7:30am in some cities, 4:30-5pm in others -- check local listings) This is the first episode of a new daily animated series about American history -- aimed at 7-12 year-olds -- told through the eyes of two fictional young characters named Sarah and James working as apprentices in Benjamin Franklin's Print shop. Their adventures (living at the time of the American Revolution) dovetail with the main events of their era. The voices of the animated characters will be recognizable. I'll give you some hints so, you watch, you can listen for Ben Stiller (Thomas Jefferson), Sylvester Stallone (Paul Revere), Maria Shriver (Peggy Shippen), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Baron von Steuben), General Norman Schwarzkopf (George Rogers Clark), Liam Neeson (John Paul Jones), Whoopie Goldberg (Deborah Sampson), Michael Douglas (John Adams), Walter Cronkite (Benjamin Franklin) and Annete Bening (Abigail Adams). There's a good website about the series at http://pbskids.org/libertyskids.

"Breaking News" (Bravo, noon-8pm ET, 9 am-noon PT) Here's my personal contribution to your Labor-Day viewing list. It's a marathon re-broadcast of the first 8 episodes of a recently launched dramatic series about people working in television news. After you've watching a few of these episodes you may realize that journalists are laborers just like anybody else. Whatever fantasies you might have had about pursuing a glamorous career in the media might even be dimmed a bit. But you'll meet some unusually smart characters in the drama.

"The World Trade Center: Rise And Fall Of An American Icon" (History Channel, 9-11 pm E/P) This is a documentary about the construction of one of the great engineering marvels of the 20th century -- and its destruction.

Tuesday, September 3

"The Best And The Worst U.S. Presidents" (A&E Network, 8-9 pm E/P) This documentary presents a "historical snapshot" of each of the Top 10 and the Bottom 5 Presidents, based on the calculations of 300 historians, journalists. (Tape this and give it to your history teacher to use in stimulating class discussions -- maybe preceded by a guessing game.)

"Science Times" (National Geographic Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) The main topic in this science-news magazine is autism -- the newest theories, experimental techniques and some cutting-edge insights about this disease.

"Frontline: Faith And Doubt At Ground Zero" (PBS, 9-11pm E/P) This thoughtful, truly special television news special about a dreadful event explores how people's beliefs -- and unbelief -- have been challenged since September 11, and how they are coping with questions of good and evil. From firefighters, priests and rabbis to lapsed Catholics and Jews; and Buddhists, Muslims and atheists.

Wednesday, September 4

"National Geographic Special: Ambassador: Under Fire Overseas" (PBS, 8-9 pm E/P) Ambassadors get killed, kidnapped, bombed and held hostage in the line of duty. This documentary covers the experiences of U.S. Ambassadors in Africa, Guatemala, Pakistan and Japan. They all served in places where the local population had grievances against America.

"Inside Islam" (History Channel, 9-11 pm E/P) This documentary explores the world's fastest growing religion in depth.

"Junkyard Wars: Power Paddlers" (The Learning Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) In this show about technology (really it's about wringing a maximum of results from a minimum of resources), two teams build powerful paddlewheel boat from junk and race to see who's best. Molly Morter heads one team, consisting of her brother and dad. (They weld two dumpsters together to make the hull of their boat.) The other team, a father and twin sons, names itself "Kentucky Fried Family" in honor of their home state, and builds a raft out of old oil barrels. Watch the show to see who wins the race. (Good sportsmanship is not one of the "resources" these people use in the contest.)

Thursday, September 5

"Airport: On Alert" (Travel Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) This is a documentary about the behind-the scenes activity at San Francisco International airport on September 11, 2001 and the days, weeks and months following that day. The Travel Channel was already on location, filming a previously planned documentary. So cameras captured the confusion as emergency plans went into effect. (The program is rated PG.) Woven through this special are newly filmed interviews with aviation security experts.


Thursday, August 29

Friday, August 30
    Dateline NBC: Towers Of Strength
    NOW with Bill Moyers

Saturday, August 31
    A Violent God
    16 Acres

Sunday, September 1
    In Depth
    Depth Charge"

Monday, September 2
    Liberty's Kids
    Breaking News
    The World Trade Center: Rise And Fall Of An American Icon

Tuesday, September 3
    The Best And The Worst U.S. Presidents
    Science Times
    Frontline: Faith And Doubt At Ground Zero

Wednesday, September 4
    National Geographic Special: Ambassador: Under Fire Overseas
    Inside Islam
    Junkyard Wars: Power Paddlers

Thursday, September 5
    Airport: On Alert


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