www.whyville.net Oct 31, 2003 Weekly Issue

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These listings cover television programs up to Friday, November 7th.

Greetings, TV viewers!

The discussion topic for Wednesday's Media Hour in the Greek Theatre at 6:30 p.m. Whyville time will be "People who have fooled me." Watch some of the shows listed below for 'inspiration' and come tell us about the times you've ben faked out, tricked or otherwise deceived. Also, you may want to confess how you did things like this to somebody else.

For the Media Hour, watch the show(s)-of-the-week, jot down some ideas, then talk about them with me and other citizens (including other City Workers, if they're available) at the Greek Theater, over in City Hall. You'll find that the Theater makes discussions pretty easy, since City Workers are able to direct people's movement and behavior, when we need to, and it keeps everyone's chat bubbles from overlapping too much. We meet for MediaHour on Wednesdays from 6:30pm to 7:30pm Whyville Time (that's the same as Eastern Daylight Time).

Everyone is welcome to write to me about what you and your parents think: Y-mail me, the MediaWiz of Whyville!

Friday, October 31

"Spy Kids II" (Showtime Channel, 7:15-9 p.m. E/P, Movie Rated PG for mild violence) Here's a scary (sort of) science-themed (sort of) alternative to the usual Halloween night stuff on TV.  And if you can't find it on your TV, it's available in video stores.  In this sequel to the hit movie about super-spy siblings, the twins are back to rid the world of another villainous menace.  This time, the Cortez kids -- now official government agents -- are assigned to find and stop the evil energy-draining plans (like those that cause massive blackouts) of a mad scientist.

"20/20" (ABC, 10-11 p.m. E/P) This newsmagazine has a story which answers the question, "Diet cuisine at the drive-up window?"  Some of the big fast-food chains have gone into the "healthier options" business in a big way.  But how much of it is hype, rather than health?  What's really going on that (recyclable) plate?  There's also a report on the a new breed of aggressive celebrity photographers that focuses on ambushes.  Critics say their tactics cross the line between photojournalism and harassment.  For their part, the photographers say their work provides a natural "high" and can become addictive.  (Is there anything left that has not been declared a medical condition?) For Halloween week the program goes to New Orleans to talk to author Anne Rice, whose novels about the lives of vampires are consistent best-sellers.  She shows her home, with its macabre memorabilia, talks of her fascination with the bizarre and her belief in ghosts. 

Saturday, November 1

"Plymouth Adventure" (TCM Network, 6-8 p.m. ET, 3-5 p.m. PT) Just to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit, even though it's only a day after Halloween, here's a dramatized account of the Pilgrim's passage the New World and their struggle to survive there.  Some of your teachers will appreciate it if you tape it and bring it to school.  And some may challenge what's shown -- and not shown -- in the movie.  I think the real question is, "Are you tough enough to survive what these immigrants went through?"

Sunday, November 2

"Masterpiece Theatre: Doctor Zhivago -- Part 1" (PBS, 9-11pm E/P TV rated PG-14, Consult with your parents after looking at the website given below) This is a new filming of a great love story by the Nobel winning Russian Novelist, Boris Pasternak.  Set against the turmoil of the Russian Revolution, it's a story about a dreamy poet-physician, Yury Zhivago, and the love of his life, Lara Antipova..  Every imaginable impediment to love befalls them.  Part 2 airs November 9.   The website is at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/zhivago/index.html.

Monday, November 3

"America Rocks The Vote" (CNN, 7-8:30 ET, 4-5:30 p.m. PT) This will be live coverage of a debate (really a group press conference) with the major contenders for the Democratic U.S.  Presidential nomination.  The novelty aspect of this broadcast is that the people in the audience asking questions will be 'new' voters -- just over 18 years old.  Tune in and find out what 'tweens' want from these politicians.  To check the candidates out ahead of time log on to http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/special/president/candidates/whos.in.out.html

"Extreme Engineering: Transatlantic Tunnel" (Discovery Channel, 8-9 p.m. E/P) This is a technology documentary about the problem of building a tunnel under the Atlantic ocean.  In prototypes of a floating version of these things, 5,000-mph magnetically levitated trains travel between New York, London and Paris.  Passengers would dine and sleep while whales and nuclear subs glide around them.  (If you want to think of this show as sci-fi, go ahead, but it's also a physics lesson.)

Tuesday, November 4

"Mark Twain's Roughing It -- Part 1" (Hallmark Channel, 8-10 p.m. E/P, Part 2 airs November 5 at the same hour) To get a flavor of this movie based on Mark Twain's 'autobiography", here's a quote from him: "When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not."  If you read his book "Roughing It" you will absolutely meet your match as far as having a wicked sense of humor goes.  In the movie, Samuel Clemens (Twain's real name) is seen as a happy older man, asked to speak to the Bryn Mawr' College graduating class of 1891, and he's filled with dread.  His daughter Susy is a student and he hopes to make her proud, and not add to his reputation among 'serious' writers as a lightweight comedian.   So, he spins a story "from his life" -- as a greenhorn from the East surviving in the rough society of the Western frontier -- mostly, if not entirely all lies.  It's hailed as a literary triumph.  (There's a moral here somewhere.)

"How Real is Real" (Bravo, 9-10 p.m. E/P) This documentary investigates the unseen side of reality television and the producers behind it, uncovering some of the best-kept production secrets.  This involves interviews with Ytossie Patterson of "Temptation Island," Sarah Kozer of "Joe Millionaire," Jacqueline Kelly of Manhunt, Joel Klug of "Survivor," Jerri Manthey of "Survivor" and "The Surreal Life," Danny Wolf, Producer of "Busted on the Job".  You' learn about little cinematic trickeries such as recreating footage -- and certain techniques that got people investigated on federal fraud chages.

Wednesday, November 5

"National Geographic Specials: Inside Special Forces" (PBS, 8-9 p.m. E/P) This historical, -- plus current events -- documentary starts out in 1756 when nine companies of American colonists were recruited to fight the British in the French and Indian War.  Such units were used occasionally throughout U.S.  history, but it was not until the 1960s that the role of Special Forces was formalized by President John F.  Kennedy.  This program follows this highly skilled, elite group of soldiers from their lives at home in the U.S.  the frontlines of America's wars.

Thursday, November 6

"Frontline: The Alternative Fix" (PBS, 9-10 p.m. E/P) This documentary program examines the popularity -- and profitability -- of complementary and alternative medicine.  It also covers controversies about these popular treatments, which are facing increased scrutiny as the first real studies of their effectiveness are published.  For an interesting website, including a link to a streaming video re-broadcast of the show, log on http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/altmed/.

Friday, November 7

"Swiss Family Robinson" (Hallmark Channel, 7-10pm E/P) This is a movie based on the classic Johann David Wyss adventure novel.  Fleeing the oppressions of Napoleon, a Swiss family from Berne is stranded on a desert island well short of its destination -- a colony in New Guinea -- when pirates chase the travelers' ship into a storm and cause their abandonment by the crew, and crashing onto a reef.  The father get safely to land in a makeshift tub raft and later salvage supplies, domestic animals and firearms from the wreck before blowing it to bits to prevent the pirates from discovering the family.  They build a fabulous tree house for their comfort, and a unique hilltop fortress for their protection against the pirates, who eventually return to search for them.

"20/20" (ABC, 10-11 p.m. E/P) If you are a Martha Stewart-watcher, here's an interview program featuring the famous consumer-advisor being grilled by Barbara Walters (as tough a business woman Martha).  Whether you like Martha Stewart or not -- and there seems to be little middle ground -- there will be something new for you in this interview the only one she's done since her legal troubles began, and the only one she will do before her trial in January.


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