Two weeks ago, I shared with you the documentary television program about Chautauqua Institution, which will be broadcast in January on the Public Broadcasting System.
Folks in our area tend to get their public broadcasting programs from one of two stations: WNED in Buffalo, or WQLN in Erie, Pa. I saw the preview of the Chautauqua program by invitation of WNED. While I was there, they gave out copies of a DVD which presented brief previews of other programming, which the network has scheduled, for the coming season.
This week, I'd like to share with you that information about the coming programming. Because each individual station in the network has considerable latitude about if and when they will broadcast the network's programming, I'm not able to tell you that Show A will be broadcast on a certain date at a certain time.
Television and film star Patrick Stewart takes viewers through imagining ``Macbeth' through the eyes of the Soviet Revolution on PBS this autumn. Seen with him here is Kate Fleetwood,as Lady Macbeth.
What I can do is let you know what's coming, so that when television listings are printed, you can look for the things you want to see.
When I was only 13 years old, Newton Minow, who was the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, made his famous speech in which he declared that American television amounted to a ''vast wasteland.''
I think if you read through the possibilities from PBS, you will find that while there is still plenty of wasteland to go around, there is plenty of intelligent community to be found on the home screen, as well.
The disc highlighted seventeen series of featured specials:
I might mention, Walberg shares the same name as the famed actor and underwear model, but they are different people and spell their last names slightly differently.
This year, the show will visit San Diego; Billings, Montana; Miami Beach; Biloxi, Mississippi; Des Moines; and Washington, D.C. The program will continue to feature ''Roadshow Most Wanted,'' in which they feature valuable antiques which have been stolen, and the public's assistance is enlisted to find the stolen items and return them to their rightful owners.
The DVD reports that in addition to the regular programming, they will offer two specials as well. ''Simply the Best'' will feature the most valuable items which have been brought to the program's appraiser during the season. ''Naughty or Nice'' remains curiously not described. However, they do feature a man holding a pair of salt and pepper shakers which are shaped like young women, although he holds them so that his hands allow only the shakers' heads and legs, from the knees down, to show, so I suspect that hints at the items which will be evaluated on that special.
''A Murder of Crows,'' was created by a team of naturalists who seek to demonstrate that crows can distinguish one human from another, and that they interact positively with individual people, according to how they have been treated in the past. The program seeks to demonstrate that crows pass that discrimination along from generation to generation.
''Echo: An Elephant to Remember'' is a program about Echo, a female elephant who has lived with and worked for the same family for 65 years. It demonstrates how elephants mourn other animals who die, and how they form unique relationships with humans.
''Bears at the Last Frontier'' is a film in which the crew travels across 3,000 miles and through five different ecosystems, to examine how well three different types of bears are struggling to survive against the natural and human forces which act on them.
The individual programs highlight Billy the Kid, and the pioneers who first discovered the remains of dinosaurs and the competition to own and display the bones and other remains. It's called ''Dinosaur Wars.''
There are also programs on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911, the building of the Panama Canal, the life of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, the Freedom Riders who helped make integration a reality in the American South, and the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, which is credited with inspiring the demands of gay Americans for basic human rights.
Interesting to me was the fact that the Stonewall program is included as a separate entry on the disc, which I suspect is in case stations don't want to include it in their advertising of upcoming programs.
Films examine how food finds its way to our tables, why people who live successfully within our system sometimes become attracted to jihad, how William Kunstler has become notorious for his career as an outspoken attorney, and the way the nation has gradually been moving away from our ideal that a person who is arrested is presumed to be innocent until he is proven to be guilty.
Also, there is a subseries of programs dealing with adoption today. As more dependable contraception has reduced the number of babies who are available for parents wanting to adopt, Americans have turned more frequently to children from other countries. The programs also note the affect of the adoptions on the countries from which the children come.
There is a feature about the life and career of French filmmaker Agnes Varda, a study of how salt comes to be available to our tables, an examination of the results of the career on the country and the children of a Latin American dictator, and a program about the infamous Pentagon Papers, and how their publication changed American history and government.
Past programs have dealt with such issues as the increasing reluctance of countries around the world to do business with Iran, the curious phenomenon of people who confess to crimes which they are later proven not to have committed, the causes, results to date and projected effects in the future of the current financial crisis, and more.
Other elements in the series focus on artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and on the Native American's evolution from ''painted savage'' in western films to struggles with governments to preserve their treaties.
The fascinating career of Benazir Bhutto, who came from a political family which was often compared to the Kennedy Family in American politics, who was elected to high office as a woman in a country where women are often required to wear veils to cover their faces and who was killed by an assassin while running for the presidency of Pakistan, is the subject of one program.
A young man is featured in one program who suffered brain damage while participating in American wars abroad, who was so dissatisfied with the rehabilitation he was receiving, he created his own much-praised rehabilitation, creating a whole city, peopled by dolls which were painted and clothed to resemble himself and the people in his life.
''King Solomon's Treasure'' explores the archeology which has taken place in the Middle East, to study the famous king of ancient Israel. Many important new discoveries have been made in recent years.
''Making Stuff'' examines recent developments in making new building materials, cloth, scientific equipment, and other products which show promise of making life better and easier.
They also explore his mission to transfer his vast library of records, audio tapes and other media, onto Compact Discs, as well as his effort to preserve the originals, as well as his copies.
Among the performances which will be available this season will be a birthday concert, performed at New York City's City Center, in honor of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, a performance by the Chicago Symphony conducted by Ricardo Muti, a joint concert of music with Latin elements, conducted by famed young conductor Gustavo Dudamel and featuring the powerful tenor of Juan Diego Flores, and a tour of the historical sites and cultural splendor of St. Petersburg, Russia, featuring the singing of Renee Fleming and Dmitri Hvoritovski.
Other performances will be shown, featuring Elton John, the Vienna Philharmonic, performing in front of the facade of the elegant Schonbrun Palace, in Vienna, the spirited, young Miami City Ballet, and the stunning performance of Shakespeare's ''Tragedy of Macbeth,'' featuring film and television star Patrick Stewart, and set in the 1917 Revolution, in Russia.