www.whyville.net Jan 1, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

Users' Rating
Rate this article

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

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

Thursday, October 17

"Who Counts? Election Reform In America" (PBS, 10-11 pm E/P -- check local listings) This documentary examines the 2000 presidential election, including voting discrepancies in Florida (lots of technology glitches involved) and comes up with some ideas to correct them. It's rated TV-PG. You may wonder why the topic of voting can have a parental warning slapped on it. In this program the matter is dealt with edgy humor as well as hardball talk about politics.

Friday, October 18

"Serpent" (Discovery Channel, 8-9 pm E/P) This documentary is about one of the most successful species on earth and also one of the least documented. Snakes have a range of behavior more bizarre and astonishing than almost any other animal. Using miniaturized cameras mounted on snakes' heads as they hunt, plus high-speed photography, x-rays and computer imaging, scientists analyze snakes' behavior in detail.

Saturday, October 19

"Scout's Safari" (NBC, noon-12:30 pm ET, 10-10:30 am PT) This is an episode of one of the new programs I previously mentioned that have been prepared by the Discovery Channel for airing on NBC this fall. "Scout's Safari" is a live action show about Scout Laurer, 13, who moves from New York to South Africa. Living on a game reserve, she develops an untapped gift for working with animals, and through her new friends, she is introduced to the true meaning of cultural diversity. The title of this particular episode is "Science Friction". A website with related science and geography games is http://school.discovery.com/ad_ventures/nbc/scout.html

"The Cuban Missile Crisis Declassified" (History Channel, 8-10 pm E/P) This documentary presents new information about events in October 1962 when the world tottered on the brink of nuclear war. The Soviet Union's Premier Nikita Khrushchev had placed missiles in Cuba to defend it from American invasion. When U.S. intelligence provided President John F. Kennedy with proof, he demanded that they be removed, risking the first nuclear exchange between the superpowers. Now, new information reveals just how fragile communication between Moscow and Washington was, how little each side understood of the other, and how close we really came to The End Of The World. TV rated PG.

Sunday, October 20

"60 Minutes" (CBS 7-8 pm E/P) This newsmagazine has two reports about youth. Girls: the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan may be gone, but the indignities women suffered under them remain a problem, especially for young girls. Christian Amanpour reports. Boys: Just as U.S. educators' special efforts to improve the performance of girls in school is showing success, they now have a new problem: boys are falling behind at all levels of education. Lesley Stahl reports.

"The Big Time" (TNT Network, 8-10 pm E/P) This is a movie about the early days of television -- you'll easily be able to relate if you've been paying any kind of attention to what's going on in today's world of high-tech and dot-coms. Same stuff as in this movie, except in 1948 it they didn't have color screens for their monitors. The movie is also very much about ambitious women, with Mollie Ringwald in the lead. Christopher Lloyd ("Back To The Future") is the mad scientist who wants to turn his technology into a mass-media network (I told you you already knew how things really happen in the world of tech.) It's rated TV-14 because of "language" and "situations", which mean folks threatening to sue over patents and TV stars' salaries. Interestingly, this show was made by the same people who do "West Wing" for TV.

Monday, October 21

"Brooklyn Bridge" (PBS, 9-10 pm E/P) This documentary by Ken Burns ("The Civil War") examines the problems and ingenious solutions that marked the conception and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. When it was built in the 1870's it was very controversial and expected to fail, but it didn't -- and it became an icon for engineering success.

Tuesday, October 22

"Intimate Machines" (PBS, 9-10 pm E/P -- check local listings) In this documentary, one of the "Scientific American Frontiers" series, host Alan Alda puts on a helmet and gloves that measure his eye and hand gestures, as well as his voice to get a computerized robot to interact with him as personally as possible. The idea behind the robot he's dealing with, says MIT's Justine Cassell, is to redefine computers as "actors in our social world," and not just boxes on a desktop. For a really cool profile of Justine Cassel log on http://www.pbs.org/saf/1303/features/cassell.htm

Wednesday, October 23

"Presumed Guilty" (PBS, 9-11 pm E/P -- check local times) This is a documentary about the what happens inside the U.S. justice system when you are accused of a crime but, as is the case with the vast majority of Americans, you can't afford to hire private lawyers. Such cases are handled at public expense by court-appointed attorneys or public defenders. This film watches 4 real cases unfold through the eyes of lawyers in the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, representing clients facing drug, murder and, firearms charges. You will see a team of one woman and 5 men clash daily with judges, district attorneys and even their clients in an effort to advocate justice for the accused. Although it's not officially TV rated PG, I think it's complexity and situations are more suitable for middle and high school viewers than younger ones. First, take a look at the excellent, student-oriented website http://www.pbs.org/kqed/presumedguilty to make up your mind about watching.

Thursday, October 24

"Secrets Of the Ancient World" (History Channel 8-9 pm E/P) This documentary was filmed at sites in the Holy Land where specialized archaeologists sift through the living sands of time to uncover the several vanished civilizations known to have flourished there. We trace biblical archaeology's history and profile some of its prominent figures including a husband and wife team who have spent their lives digging the sands of Israel. We also explore the future of biblical archaeology and examine the high-tech tools that will someday make digging with pick and shovel obsolete.


Thursday, October 17
    Who Counts? Election Reform In America

Friday, October 18

Saturday, October 19
    Scout's Safari
    The Cuban Missile Crisis Declassified

Sunday, September 20
    60 Minutes
    The Big Time

Monday, October 21
    Brooklyn Bridge

Tuesday, October 22
    Intimate Machines

Wednesday, October 23
    Presumed Guilty

Thursday, October 24
    Secrets Of the Ancient World


  Back to front page