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TV Junkie: Weekend Edition

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The LA Times has a write-up on the demise of local public Channel 36. Somehow the City of LA can't/won't come up with a measly $500k to keep local broadcast of "school sport events, public policy talks, and long-distance for-credit college classes". While it's true that there is another city-funded public channel (#35) that one seems to be a megaphone for whichever politicians are in office. Surely the megalopolis of LA is big enough to support two public channels.

This Sunday brings the return of "This American Life" to Showtime (@10:00pm) further cementing the premise I made a few weeks ago that Showtime owns Sundays now. While I've always enjoyed the radio show broadcast on my local NPR affiliate I wasn't sure I'd appreciate it's translation to the medium of television, since, you know, you use your brain to visualize the stories when you hear them on radio. So am I saying that the TV version is a way for (even) lazier Americans to appreciate these stories? No comment except to say that Americans could use a lot more documentaries in their viewing hours and "This American Life"'s peculiar style is very engaging. I've seen the first two episodes and they are excellent with amazing stories shot beautifully and evocatively.

A couple things I would have them change, however, is: 1. get rid of Ira Glass (uh oh, bookstore babes are gonna give me flack for that one) - the TV show proves that his presence is unnecessary and his intros are annoying/distracting/pointless, i.e. "This American Life" ≠ Ira Glass, the viewers are not stupid, they do not need his set ups; 2. Let's get a little less NPR for the broadcasts - by this I mean, the underlying and cloying-bittersweet sense of despair that pervades at least 1/2 the stories, I know that the world isn't sunshine and roses but who wants to start the week after viewing material that tends to be so depressing? Still, it's the best thing on at 10:00pm on Sundays for many more good reasons than bad.

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Tonight

9:00pm Man vs. Wild DISCOVERY - Alleged charlatan (Letterman did not give him much of a break last night) Bear Grylls hits some of the worlds biggest rapids in Zambia.

10:00pm NUMB3RS CBS - For my editor: Hey Zach, a mass poisoning at a cult compound leads the team to a complex murder plot!!

10:00pm Battlestar Galactica SCIFI - Dude.

11:30pm The Late Show With David Letterman CBS - Patrick Dempsey, Isabella Rossellini, Nick Lowe performs! (an icon of DIY American pop from the early '80s)

Saturday

9:00pm Robin Hood BBCA - Men in tights it ain't.

9:15pm The Scapegoat TCM - (1959) Bette Davis on morphine(!) as the mother of a decadent count/fraudulent Englishman (Alec Guinness) - this is one of those great "Alec Guinness, man of a thousand faces" flicks.

10:00pm The Graham Norton Show BBCA - Martin Sheen (our former President) reveals who he supports in the Democratic race.

Sunday

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6:00pm Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music TCM - Tonight TCM has a Sinatra marathon with Higher and Higher, Ship Ahoy, and Reveille With Beverly among other flicks.

8:00pm Wire In The Blood BBCA - Season Finale. I haven't covered this show enough, it's excellent.

9:00pm The Tudors SHOWTIME - That Henry is a naughty boy.

9:00pm Nature PBS/KCET - Making me think about my fishing tackle: marlin, sailfish, spearfish and swordfish are the largest and most highly prized of all gamefish. Be prepared for lots of footage of giant fish leaping into the air.

10:00pm This American Life SHOWTIME - Season Premiere. TV Junkie Pick O' The Weekend