These listings cover television programs up to Thursday, January
Greetings, TV viewers!
This coming week's Show-of-the-Week is another two-fer,
both on Monday, January 13th. We begin with Benedict
Arnold: A Question of Honor, in which we discover why this
infamous officer turned away from his friend and commander, George
Washington. This excellent A&E movie starts at 8pm and includes
stars of stage and television, Kelsey Grammer and Aidan Quinn, in the cast.
Our second show is Chicago: City Of The Century,
a study of one of America's leading cities, home of Akbar's favorite
baseball team (the Cubs) and a particularly unique history. You'll
find it showing on Monday at 9pm on PBS.
Want some clams? Watch the shows-of-the-week, then talk about them
with me and other citizens (including other city workers, if they're available)
in the House
of Illusions Geek Speak. We usually meet on Wednesdays
at 6:30pm Whyville Time.
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, January 9
"Frontline: A Dangerous Business" (PBS 9-10 pm E/P) This documentary about on-the job safety is a joint production of the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation, the New York Times and PBS. Six thousand workers lose their
lives on the job in the U.S and tens of thousands more are seriously injured
or exposed to deadly poisons and carcinogens in the workplace. Yet if one of
those workers dies on the job due to a company's willful disregard for
federal safety regulations, the maximum penalty his employer faces is just
six months in prison. Are U.S. workplace safety laws tough enough? And are
companies being held responsible for protecting the safety of their
employees? In addition to the answers given in the program, you should log on
Friday, January 10
"20/20" (ABC, 10-11 pm E/P) Reports on this newsmagazine cover over-the-counter pain medications taken for headaches which actually might be causing them to recur. Also, of possible interest to some parents, a report on products claiming to combat baldness. Then, an in-depth interview with Mariel Hemingway in which she discusses coping with the 'family curse' that bedeviled her father and Nobel-winning writer-grandfather. Her coping tools include yoga, meditation and total abstinence from the family demon, alcohol. There's also a report on fired Indiana University coach Bobby Knight, who is suing Indiana University to get his job back.
Saturday January 11
"Gambling Games -- Beating the House" (Discovery Channel, 10-10:30 pm) Due to the late hour and the topic of this documentary, I suggest you get your parents to tape it so you can all view it as a family at a convenient time.
It's never too early to get smart about what I call "the gambling bug". This
program reports on techniques that professionals use to win at popular casino
games. You will also learn blackjack secrets, video poker strategies from
gambling legends and examines slot machines from the inside out, including
payout rates and placement on the casino floor. I wonder if they have any notes on the dreidel game, which you'll find in Whyville? My theory in recommending
this material is based on the old saying, "If you're interested in sausages
or politics, don't look inside a sausage factories or a political campaign."
Sunday, January 12
"Dateline NBC: The Road to Baghdad" (NBC, 7-8 pm E/P) In this documentary, NBC news reporter Tom Brokaw documents the path to possible war with Iraq through the eyes of people at the center of the crisis. From a diplomat, to a soldier, to a family bracing for attack, Brokaw meets the leaders shaping world events and the everyday citizens swept up by them. Brokaw visits Iraq, Israel, Ft. Stewart, GA., Washington, D.C. and San Diego, CA. An interesting, relevant website originating with another news network, ABC, describes the possibility of drafting Americans into military service (the current forces are staffed by volunteers).
Monday, January 13
"Benedict Arnold: A Question Of Honor" (A&E Channel, 8-10 pm E/P) This is a movie version of the life of a man whose very name became a synonym for "traitor". Before that happened, he was not only George Washington's finest Revolutionary War officer, but one of his most trusted advisors and closest friends. After meeting and falling in love with a 19-year old British sympathizer, Peggy Shippen -- and marrying her -- Arnold began to question his commitment to the American cause. How he came to turn against Washington is a story as intriguing as any TV drama. (It had a lot to do with his irresistible teenage bride.) Aidan Quinn, Kelsey Grammer and Flora Montgomery star. TV Rated PG. There's a website with details at http://www.aande.com/tv/shows/benedictarnold/index.html
"Chicago: City Of The Century" (PBS, 9-10:30 pm E/P) This is episode 1 of a documentary miniseries about a place you ought to know more about -- even if you're already in it (as millions already are, yet they still don't know
their own history beyond tales of catastrophic fires and gangsters). I like
the idea presented in the series that "Chicago became the funnel that
delivered an entire ecosystem, the entire western landscape, into the waiting
markets of the eastern seaboard and Europe." The place also spawned the first
skyscrapers, a river that runs backwards, mass-market food processing and
modern political liberals (everything about this last topic is
controversial). Parts 2 and 3 air Tuesday and Wednesday, January 14 and 15,
respectively. There's an accompanying website at
Tuesday, January 14
"Trail of the Vikings" (The Learning Channel, 10-11 pm E/P) This
documentary follows the path of Scandinavian invaders through England (where
they menaced the population until the arrival of French invader) and from
there across the Atlantic to Greenland and Canada where they settled half a
millennium before Columbus reached the New World. These people were, as you
will see, highly cultured adventurers.
Wednesday, January 15
"The Mighty Mississippi: Steamboat's A' Comin'" (History Channel, 3-4 pm
E/P) This documentary explains the invention of a thing marvelous to behold, the paddlewheel steamboat. It was intended to move travelers and gamblers in great style along the length of the Big River -- as well as cotton from the south and grain from the north. This commerce partly caused a Civil War to be
fought along the river but also created some of the river's most colorful times.
Thursday, January 16
"Cosmic Journey: The Voyager Interstellar Mission And Message" (A&E, 9-11 pm E/P) This is a documentary about the longest voyage in human history. It
began in 1977 with the launch of NASA's Voyager I and II unmanned space
probes. Their dual mission was, first, to explore and send back digital
information about the outer solar system and its vast collection of moons.
And, second, to proceed forever, yes forever, through interstellar space
bearing a cargo of images, music and greetings from our home planet to the
extra-terrestrials which might be encountered -- even if it took a billion
years to reach them. Lots on info which Voyager found is at