www.whyville.net Dec 12, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

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Greetings again, TV viewers!

This week's Show-of-the-Week is a double-header! Watch on Thursday, December 12 for a Gangs of New York documentary, about the upcoming movie, comparing the movie to the reality of New York gangs around the turn of the 20th Century. Follow that up on Monday with History vs. Hollywood, including interviews of DiCaprio and other famous faces about the same topic -- then tell me what's interesting/boring about both and why!

Want some clams? Watch the shows-of-the-week, then talk about it with me and other citizens (including other city workers) on Wednesday, December 18th, at 6pm Why-Time, in the House of Illusions Geek Speak. If you come and really take part in the meeting, you'll get up to 50 clams from City Hall... you like that?

To sum up: tune to the show, show up to the chat, chat up your thoughts, and know you get clams!

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

And now... the Media Menu!

Thursday, December 12

"The Gangs Of New York" (Discovery Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) This historical documentary explains how the current movie, "Gangs of New York", used historian Herbert Asbury's book as the basis for capturing the hardship, the corrupt politics and brutal gang wars which took place in that city between the 1830's and 1860's. (This included youths rioting because they didn't want to be drafted into the army to fight for the Union in the U.S. Civil War.) Special Note: On December 16 at 11pm, the History Channel will air a special documentary on this topic in its "History vs Hollywood" documentary series. Exclusive interviews with Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day Lewis and Liam Neeson will be included.

Friday, December 13

"NOW With Bill Moyers" (PBS, 9-10 pm E/P) The main story in this newsmagazine is about money -- specifically the challenge of managing it when the places you are accustomed to getting it are getting fewer and the places where you are under pressure to spend it are getting more numerous. The report follows three middle class families struggling with the economic shifts in America, such as the widening income and wealth gap, which may be having profound economic, social and political effects on the nation.

"Vincent and Theo" (Sundance, 9-11:30 pm E/P repeating December 18 at 6:30 -9 pm E/P Movie rated PG-13) This is a biographical movie about the life of the post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh -- famous for his images of sunflowers which now fetch the highest prices in modern auctions -- and his long, supportive -- yet exhausting -- relationship with his art-gallery manager brother Theo. It's also about the relationship between art and commerce while movingly capturing the humor, love and pain that enlivened the intense familial bond between the two brothers. To see the best of the artist's works, log on http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl.

Saturday, December 14

"Sci-Trek Saturday: Line-Up/Eyewitness Testimony" (Discovery Channel, 9-11 pm E/P) Here's a documentary that demonstrates the importance of science in the everyday world -- in this case, psychology and visual perception. Eyewitness testimony errors in crime cases have been the most common cause of wrongful conviction. In the U.S., more than 75,000 people become criminal suspects every year based on eyewitness identification. Careful scientific research has resulted in the development of a new 'police line-up' method that may reduce false identification.

Sunday, December 15

"I Was A Teenage Faust" (Showtime Network, 8-9:30 pm E/P) This movie is an adaptation of the classic story by 18th century writer J.W.Goethe about a scholarly type of person who sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for things that , at the time, might make one happy. In this modern version, a terminally nerdy Indiana teenager named Brendan (Josh Zuckerman) sells his soul to Mr. Five (Robert Townsend), an agent of Mephisto (Stuart Margolin). Brendan receives coolness and a sweet automobile, but he probably ought to check the fine print on his contract with Mr. Five. Morgan Fairchild costars. Although this is a comedy, it has a serious side, and even a classroom kit for teachers -- including a free video of the movie and study guide. Write on school letterhead to: Cable In The Classroom, c/o Corporate Communications, Showtime,1633 Broadway, 17th Floor, NY,NY 10019. An interesting website about the original story underlying this movie is http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~brians/hum_303/faust.html.

Monday, December 16

"Human Instinct" (The Learning Channel, 9-11 pm E/P) Series TV rated PG. This is a broadcast of the first two episodes, "Born To Survive" and "Deepest Desires", in a 4-hour series about the instinctive side of human behavior. With location filming on many continents, with experiments, secret filming, computer graphics and first-person accounts scientists probe our instincts for survival, reproduction, competition and heroism. The final two episodes, "The Will To Win" and "Natural Born GHeroes" air December 17 from 9-11 pm E/P.

"History vs Hollywood: Gangs Of New York" (History Channel, 11 pm - midnight E/P) This episode in a series about historical accuracy in movies asks when the real story ends and the fiction part begins in the newly released historical epic "Gangs Of New York". In addition to seeing interviews with stars Leonardo Di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day Lewis, Liam Neeson and director Martin Scorsese you will visit a newly discovered secret tunnel under New York used during the 19th century by both gangs and the police. Program repeats December 21st at 8 am E/P and December 28th at 7 pm E/P. A website about historian Herbert Asbury which describes the historical events without adding the fictionalized elements is at http://www.gangsnewyork.com.

Tuesday, December 17

"The Christmas Truce" (History Channel, 8-9 pm E/P) This is a documentary about a psychologically compelling thing that happened during "The Great War" when Germany and England were fighting in 1914. You're going to remember this story for a long time if you watch this show because it's about how enjoying Christmas and playing soccer are more of an attraction than shooting at people. That year, beginning on December 25, soldiers on both sides of the war made their governments and officers very angry by putting down their weapons and getting together in 'no-man's land" between their respective trenches to exchange food and cigarettes, sing Christmas carols, organize soccer tournaments and even pray together over the graves of recently buried comrades. It took their governments and generals until mid-January of the next year to get the German and British troops to begin shooting at one another again.

"Pantheon: Design And Architecture" (Discovery Channel, 9-10 am E/P) This is a 2 part documentary about the design and construction of the famous, coolly beautiful and often copied hilltop Greek temple. You'll recognize it when you see it in the show - and you'll then notice copies of it (mostly done badly) somewhere on almost every part of your town. Watching the documentary will tell you a lot about classical building methods and make you wonder how come we modern folk, with all our mechanical aids, cant get things to look as good as was the case when workers had only ropes and hammers to work with. Good pictures of what I'm talking about are at http://harpy.uccs.edu/greek/parthenon.html.

Wednesday, December 18

"Muhammad: Legacy Of A Prophet" (PBS, 9-11 pm E/P) This is a biographical documentary about the Prophet Muhammad, 1500 years ago, brought peace to the warring pagan tribes of Arabia and established the new religion of Islam, which today has 1.2 billion followers. It also conveys what many American Muslims believe that Islam teaches, and how their beliefs shape their lives. Andr?? Braugher narrates An excellent supporting website is at http://www.pbs.org/Muhammad.

Special Note: PBS rebroadcast Muslims, a previously aired Frontline documentary special on the many diverse interpretations of Islam around the world, on Thursday, December 19 at 9:00 PM

"Unsolved History: The Death Of The Red Baron" (Discovery Channel, 9-10 pm E/P) This documentary examines the records of a Canadian fighter-pilot and an Australian anti-aircraft unit to see who may have fired the shots that killed Germany's most famous air-ace during WWI. Scientists reconstruct the event using computer flight simulators, high powered lasers, ballistic analysis and forensic pathology.

Thursday, December 19

"Scott Of The Antarctic" (Turner Classic Cinema Channel, 8-10 pm ET, 5-7 pm PT) This dramatic recreation of the famous -- and tragic -- British expedition to South Pole will give you an idea what it's like on an honest-to-God scientific exploration. It ain't like some of the cute-guy-or-gal-in-a-trendy-parka documentaries you see these days on cable TV. But, in this film, you'll get to know some realty heroic, smart explorers.


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