www.whyville.net Oct 24, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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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 24

"Secrets Of the Ancient World" (History Channel 8-9 pm E/P) This documentary was filmed prior to this month's news concerning archaeological evidence possibly about Jesus' family (look at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/22/science/22JESU.html), but it provides good overview about scientific activity in the Holy Land, where specialized archaeologists are uncovering ancient civilizations known to have flourished there. It traces biblical archaeology's history and profiles 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.

Friday, October 25

"Beyond The Prairie" (PAX TV Network, 8-10 pm E/P) This film version of the famous "Little House On The Prairie" stories covers events in the life of author Laura Ingalls Wilder. She lived on the prairie near De Smet, South Dakota and there she met the man that she would marry, Almanzo Wilder. Life, however, was not easy for them on the prairie. After a crop lost to hail, the loss of their baby son, the burning down of their house, and a terrible bout of diptheria, the Wilders had to make hard choices about how to move on from the tragedies. Available on video.

"NOW With Bill Moyers" (PBS, 9-10 pm E/P) Following the main story, which is about accusations against prominent Saudi citizens, businesses, banks, and charities linking them to terrorists, this newsmagazine features an interview with Julie Taymor, designer and director of The Lion King on Broadway, director of the film version of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and now director of the new film Frida. Taymor explains how Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter and cult-hero, has developed into an artistic legend in the public imagination.

Saturday, October 26

"Chinatown: Strangers In A Strange Land" (History Channel, 8-10 pm E/P) This documentary presents Chinese history in an unique way, through the lens of the Chinese Diaspora. As we visit various Chinatowns, we see the effect the Chinese have had on other countries, and in particular, America. But these colorful communities are more than quaint districts geared for tourism. Chinese-Americans take viewers inside as they reveal the rich and complex history of this immigrant group that thrived and prospered in America despite a dark wall of prejudice.

Sunday, October 27

"Skate America" (ABC, 1-3 pm ET, 11am-1pm PT) Of interest to those who have played the "Spin Lab" science game at http://www.whyville.net, the 2002-03 Olympic figure skating season kicks off with Skate America at the Spokane Arena. The big star will be Michelle Kwan, the most decorated skater in U.S. history. Heading the men's division will be Alexei Yagudin the 2002 Olympic Gold Medalist, 4-time World champion, 3-time European champion, and the first man to ever capture the Triple Crown of figure skating by taking the Grand Prix, European, and World titles all in one season. Also appearing are Olympic Bronze medalist Timothy Goebel, Terry Gannon, Peggy Fleming and Dick Button. "Skate Canada", the ISU Grand Prix Series of Figure Skating, airs at this time on November 10.

Monday, October 28

"Infested" (National Geographic Channel, 8-9 pm E/P) This natural science documentary about creatures that sometimes infest our homes - rats, mice, flies and cockroaches -- kicks off a series of broadcasts in this time slot more or less aligned to Halloween-type topics. Tuesday, October 28, it's a documentary about forest creatures, "Haunted Forest". Wednesday it's "The Body Snatchers", about parasites that feed on living flesh (remember, I said this is a documentary series). October 31 -- Halloween night -- it's "Pests And Parasites", about bugs and parasites that live on you and in your home. And for those of you who manage to survive trick-or-treating on Halloween night, the November 1 film is "Webs of Intrigue", about clever spiders.

"Ken Burns American Stories: Thomas Jefferson -- Part I" (PBS, 9-10:30 pm E/P) To get an idea of how people thought about Thomas Jefferson while he was alive, think of a combination of Tom Hanks and Tom Edison. Yep, he was that popular and was that innovative a scientist. He even founded a university (the U. of Virginia). But unlike Hanks, he was unable to keep his fans from pushing him into elected office. (Jefferson pointedly omitted mentioning, on his tombstone, that he had ever been President of the U.S.) Look at the website http://www.pbs.org/jefferson. Part II airs November 2.

Tuesday, October 29

"Galileo's Battle For The Heavens" (PBS, 8-10 pm. E/P) This is a fact-based historical movie about the clash between Galileo Galilei and the Church authorities who suppressed his discoveries. It reenacts his pioneering telescope observations of the moon and planets, his experiments with falling objects and his fateful trial before the Inquisition for heresy. Dava Sobel, in her fascinating book used as the basis for this movie, also reveals a new side of the Renaissance scientist's life -- that his closest confidant was his illegitimate daughter, Sister Maria Celeste, a cloistered nun.

"Speed: No Boundaries" (The Learning Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) This documentary about the art and science of speed looks at how speed affects the body. Feelings of excitement or fear that come from a particular part of the brain and have actually helped humans survive since the early days of hunting and gathering. This is a complex matter involving brain chemistry. The program explores effects of bobsledding, formula one race-driving, aerobatics -- and follows host Jeremy Clarkson as he drives a meat truck though a pack of lions in a safari park.

Wednesday, October 30

"Forensics In The White House" (Discovery Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) A bit of a welcome surprise in a TV week saturated with ordinary Halloween-themed shows is this documentary which combines all the usual Halloween topics, exhumations, strange science, mysterious deaths -- but in this case viewers will also be getting some solid U.S. Presidential history plus interesting science information. Much is known about the lives of past U.S. Presidents, but in some cases their deaths remain a mystery. For example: having grown up in Ontario, Canada in a family dedicated to health issues, Alexander Graham Bell had developed technology (not just the telephone!) which White House doctors called him in to use when James Garfield was shot. Another forensic story involves the exhumation of Zachary Taylor to see if he had been poisoned. The program goes on to reveal all sorts of startling stuff about the final days of various U.S. Presidents.

Thursday, October 31

"Top Ten Ghostly Getaways" (Travel Channel, 8-9 pm E/P) If you've decided to play it safe and not go outside on All Hallow's Eve, you may want to work out your wigglies vicariously by watching this documentary about the world's most ghost-infested places (tell your parents it's a geography assignment). This show will be followed by two additional hour-long programs, "Most Haunted In America" and "World's Best Haunted Places In America" -- about locales such as Old Town San Diego, Alcatraz Island and Las Vegas' Flamingo Hotel. A book about these places -- which actually covers Canada as well as the U.S. is "Historic Haunted America" by Michael Norman and Beth Scott. (Look it up on one of the on-line bookseller's sites where various people have reviewed it and used it as a travel guide -- even to visit places near where you live.)


Thursday, October 24
    Secrets Of the Ancient World

Friday, October 24
    Beyond The Prairie
    NOW With Bill Moyers

Saturday, October 26
    Chinatown: Strangers In A Strange Land

Sunday, September 27
    Skate America

Monday, October 28
    Ken Burns American Stories: Thomas Jefferson -- Part I

Tuesday, October 29
    Galileo's Battle For The Heavens
    Speed: No Boundaries

Wednesday, October 30
    Forensics In The White House

Thursday, October 31 -- Halloween!
    Top Ten Ghostly Getaways


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