www.whyville.net Jan 17, 2002 Weekly Issue

Staff Writer

What's On!

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What's On!

Times Writer

It's a good week for good TV! Turn it on and leave it on! Well, almost...

Number one for the week -- watch Roots, the record-breaking miniseries from 1977. Not only should you not miss it, you should make sure to tape the whole thing.

As for other suggestions, well, frankly, they're all so good I can't just pick one out. It's a full week, so warm up your VCRs and grab some good TV-watching snacks. Here it comes!

Watch the shows and let me know what you think.
Email me, the MediaWiz of Whyville!

Friday, January 18
    Roots: Celebrating 25 Years
    Secrets Of The Stone Age

Saturday, January 19
    MSNBC Investigates: Afghan Journal: The New Leaders

Sunday, January 20
    National Geographic Explorer -- Vietnam's Unseen War: Pictures From The Other Side
    Mount Rushmore
    Roots -- Part I

Monday, January 21
    National Geographic Today
    The Hughleys, The Parkers, and Girlfriends
    7th Heaven: Suspicion
    The True Story Of Black Hawk Down

Tuesday, January 22
    Neanderthals On Trial
    The Secret Life Of The Brain

Wednesday, January 23
    Apartheid's Children

Thursday, January 24
    Inside The Bermuda Triangle

Friday, January 18

"Roots: Celebrating 25 Years" (NBC, 8-9pm E/P) This special looks at the huge effect that the mini-series tracing an African-American family's history from 19th Century Gabon to 20th century America had on our country. In 1977 it was watched by 130 million people, exposing them to an aspect of our history that many never knew but none will ever forget. It even changed our vocabulary (For many people, the word roots now means family history more than it means part of a vegetable.) LeVar Burton hosts an all-star reunion of the cast. The series is now available on DVD and the original 6 episodes will be re-broadcast (see below) on the Hallmark Channel, one each evening from Sunday, January 20th to Friday, January 25.

"Secrets Of The Stone Age" (The Learning Channel, 10-11pm E/P) Watch this documentary about the "Neanderthals", a type of pre-human creature that disappeared 40,000 years ago, and see modern scientists poring over archaeological evidence that the last of these creatures inter-bred with our acknowledged ancestors, the Homo Sapien. Compare this program with the PBS one on Tuesday, January 22, which argues against this idea.

Saturday, January 19

"MSNBC Investigates: Afghan Journal: The New Leaders" (MSNBC Network 8-9pm ET, 5-6pm PT) It's not quite "and then they lived happily ever after", but there seems to be hope for the men and women that America has recently saved from the rule of the Taliban. As you will see in this news documentary, women are now part of the government there. Smart, skilled women who were previously forced out of sight, literally. What's the first thing you would do if you had to rebuild your country up from ruins?

Sunday, January 20

"National Geographic Explorer -- Vietnam's Unseen War: Pictures From The Other Side" (National Geographic Channel, 8- 9pm ET, 5-6pm PT) This documentary was compiled by renowned photojournalist Tim Page who first became famous (at age 20) for his coverage of the U.S. and Allied side during the Viet Nam War. After 30 years he returned to that country and sought out surviving photographers who covered the conflict from the other side -- to tell their story and publish their work in a book. There are two sides to every story -- this program shows both.

"Mount Rushmore" (PBS, 9-10pm E/P) Question: If you have to remove half a million tons of granite from the face of a mountain in order to form giant faces of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, are you an artist or an engineer? In this documentary you'll see that the problem didn't bother Gutzon Borglum, a sculptor who decided to turn half of South Dakota's Mount Rushmore into the strangest monument in the modern world (Washington's nose is the size of the Sphinx!). But it bothered lots of people back in 1929, as you'll see. What do you think?

"Roots -- Part I " (Hallmark Channel, 9-11pm E/P) This is the initial episode of the historical -- and history-making -- series about an African American family. Monday through Friday at this hour the other episodes air. Tape them all.

Monday, January 21

"National Geographic Today" (National Geographic Channel, 7-8pm ET/PT) The lead story in this science newsmagazine asks why would a pollution free car that doesn't run on gasoline please the oil industry and make environmentalists unhappy? This may be based on a decision made recently by the Bush Administration to ask U.S. auto makers to start working on building hydrogen powered cars, thereby halting the auto makers' strides towards perfecting electric-hybrid cars.

"The Hughleys", "The Parkers" and "Girlfriends" (UPN Network 8-10pm E/P) The theme in each episode of these three comedy series is the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday being celebrated on this day. The first is about an effort to rename a street after Dr. King. In the second one a professor flashes back to the Civil Rights era and the establishment of the Black Studies program at Santa Monica College. In the third, a lawyer has a hard time convincing her firm to recognize the holiday.

"7th Heaven: Suspicion" (The WB Network, 8-9pm E/P) The theme of this episode of the WB Network's popular family drama series is prejudice -- and how to fight it. In the story, Yasmine, a friend of the family which is the center of the series, is being threatened by bullies because of her Muslim religious and ethnic background -- and when the family works together to defend the girl they discover the bullies' prejudice is shared by many people in town. An excellent website has been provided to provide background information on this issue for schools and families: www.turnerlearning.com/thewb/7thheaven/suspicion.

"The True Story Of Black Hawk Down" (History Channel, 9-11pm E/P) Here's another example for you of the value of checking out several sources before forming a conclusion about anything -- scientific or otherwise. If you are thinking about getting a parent to take you to see the movie "Black Hawk Down" (it's R-rated, so you have to go with an adult) you might first want to watch this documentary about the actual events on which the movie's based -- the shooting down of the two U.S. helicopters in 1993 during United Nations-related military action in the African nation of Somalia. Mark Bowden, author of the book ,"Black Hawk Down", which was used to make the movie, presents a fuller version of his research on what happened. You'll also hear the versions recalled by U.S. soldiers and Somali militiamen who were there.

Tuesday, January 22

"Neanderthals On Trial" (PBS, 8-9pm E/P) This "Nova" documentary about archaeology re-examines all the evidence dug up since the original "Neanderthal Man" remains were found in Germany over a hundred years ago -- plus some new material found in Portugal four years ago. DNA test technology can reveal, perhaps, that these humanoid creatures who lived during the Ice Age were our ancestors. Perhaps. Watch the scientists trying to agree about the archaeological evidence on their table. It's an eye-opening experience. Also look at www.pbs.org/nova/neanderthals.

"The Secret Life Of The Brain" (PBS, 8-9pm E/P) This is a broadcast of the first two episodes of a documentary series about the latest brain research, overturning much of what we thought we knew about this organ. Advanced imaging techniques have enabled neuroscientists to map and research the parts that have to do with learning disorders, addiction, depression , Alzheimer's Disease and even schizophrenia. Tonight: "The Baby's Brain" and "The Child's Brain". On Tuesday January 29th its "The Teenage Brain", February 5th it's "The Adult Brain" and February 12th it's "The Aging Brain"

Wednesday, January 23

"Apartheid's Children" (National Geographic Channel, 9-10pm E/P) This documentary looks at the life of children in South Africa now that ten years have passed since they and their parents had to live under a harsh, segregationist government. The new problems are education, nutrition and, in some cases fading optimism about the future.

Thursday, January 24

"Inside The Bermuda Triangle" (Discovery Channel 9-10pm E/P) This documentary is about the methodology used by University of Miami research teams and other scientists trying to figure out why a stretch of water near their city keeps causing unexplained shipwrecks and plane crashes. What do you think of their methods?



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