A review of Genius By Stephen Hawking, a new unscripted series on PBS that gives three people challenges and tasks to help explain very complex ideas.
For the next six nights, PBS will re-air the Ken Burns series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which explores the birth and evolution of the parks.
As the director of the National Museum of Natural History rappels down vertical rock in the Grand Canyon, in 100-degree heat, he pauses, dangling by a rope. As he talks about the “ancient landscape frozen in time,” a crack rapidly moves up the face of the canyon, the canyon rumbles, and a large slice of it slides out…. continue reading
The charming series A Chef’s Life is back for a third season on PBS, chronicling chef Vivian Howard’s exploration of ingredients in the South. But as much as it is about those ingredients, the Peabody Award- and Daytime Emmy-winning reality series is also about her life—and about changing the way food television treats chefs. While… continue reading
Big Blue Live is essentially a nature documentary broadcast in real-time, and it’s a must-watch. Where else will you possibly see a blue whale, the largest animal on our planet, hunted to near-extinction, make a cameo appearance on live television? Broadcast from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, there are two live feeds each evening,… continue reading
Finding Your Roots with Louis Gates, Jr. has filmed part of a third season, but there are no plans to air it yet—though PBS does hope it will return. The show’s limbo is a result of the leaked e-mail message that revealed Ben Affleck asked to have mention of his slave-owning ancestors removed from his… continue reading
Tonight, PBS airs the second episode of Life on the Reef, a three-episode series that explores the Great Barrier Reef with the same kind of care and sensibility the BBC brought to Planet Earth and Frozen Planet. I never get tired of television shows that teaches me about complex things using beautiful imagery, and from… continue reading
Ben Affleck’s appearance on PBS’ Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. last fall didn’t include the revelation that his great, great, great grandfather was a slave owner. Why? Because Affleck asked for it to be edited out. Since that was revealed, PBS has begun an investigation and the Project Greenlight star has posted… continue reading
In the United States, McDonald’s French Fries have 19 ingredients, as former Mythbusters host Grant Imahara discussed in his sad web series. In the UK, McDonald’s fries have four ingredients. Like our fries, our cooking competitions in the U.S. are mostly overstuffed with unnecessary things, and the difference is clear in the wonderful, filler-free The Great British Baking Show. Earlier this… continue reading
Tonight, PBS premieres Ken Burns’ latest nonfiction series: The Roosevelts. Covering the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, it the 14-hour series will air over the next seven nights, but it will also be streaming online in its entirety Monday. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward, the series is being called Ken Burns’ best, both… continue reading
On a weekly basis, two PBS series air frequently outstanding reality television in the form of one-off documentaries that focus on real people and the stories of their lives, just like the best reality TV does. The 27th season of PBS’ POV documentary film series starts tonight with its broadcast premiere of When I Walk…. continue reading
Last night, PBS debuted League of Denial, which explores what the NFL knew–but actively denied and even covered up since the 1990s–about the impact of the violent sport on its athletes’ brains, and not just from concussions. The full episode of Frontline, below, is online for free, and is a must-watch for the stories it… continue reading
After creating ads for fake reality shows earlier this year, PBS affiliate WNET/Thirteen is now making trailers for fake reality shows to call attention to bad reality television. They are kind of amusing, but the campaign is maddening. Like the fake posters for shows such as “Bayou Eskimos,” “The Dillionaire,” “Knitting Wars,” and “Married to… continue reading
New York public broadcasting station WNET has begun a fundraising campaign that advertises for five fake reality TV shows on fake networks–“Bad Bad Bag Boys,” “Bayou Eskimos,” “The Dillionaire,” “Knitting Wars,” and “Married to a Mime.” The imagery for the fake shows and includes this tagline: “The fact you thought this was a real show… continue reading
The finale of America Revealed airs on PBS Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. It is most notable because it is hosted by Survivor Cook Islands winner Yul Kwon, and I say that because the series’ ambitions have hobbled it, and even his charm and intelligence can’t rescue it. (All four episodes are online.) It’s an… continue reading