Blog: December Sleeper Picks
In a month packed with holiday specials, there are some awesome programs on CET and ThinkTV we didn’t want you to miss! In this blog, Chief Programming Officer Jim Wiener highlights a few of the shows he’s most looking forward to… and only one is a Christmas show:
Edward & Wallis – A Story of Love and Destiny
Thursday, December 7, at 10pm on CET
This airs just days before the 81st anniversary of Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicating the throne, an event that gave him the shortest reign among the country’s royal rulers (not even 11 months). For years, documentaries touted the love affair between Edward and American Wallis Simpson, i.e. he loved her so much that he was willing to give up the crown. But many inside Parliament were thinking “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Edward loved the high life more than fulfilling obligations to visit the realm’s hospitals or charity events, and had a habit of sticking his nose into governmental policy long after the monarchs had been kept clear of it. But the cherry on top of this sundae was that Edward had a little public relations problem with his being a Nazi sympathizer, a disturbing thought given that war was looking like a real possibility down the road. Not even a year after abdication, Edward took Wallis on a trip to Germany, and the photos of the two shaking hands with Hitler and giving Nazi salutes didn’t go over well.
Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass
Friday, December 8, at 9pm on CET
Sunday, December 10, at 3pm on ThinkTV16
So if you’re looking for inspiration to wow them at a holiday dinner or work carry-in, and you need something with a little more oomph than Rudolph cookies with red icing noses, time to devote an hour to the British masters.
Foo Fighters – Landmarks Live in Concert
Saturday, December 9, at 10pm on CET and ThinkTV16
The Foo Fighters has been hailed as the last American rock band suitable for arenas or stadiums, or capable of selling that many tickets. They’ve been around for more than 20 years and sold 25 million “albums” (an outmoded term anymore, but still used as a pseudonym for “units”). David Grohl is ostensibly their front man, and makes frequent appearances on talk shows and in documentaries.
So this IS the Landmarks series where the artists get to pick where they can perform, a venue that holds some significance for them. Some pick a smaller venue where they had their first big gig, or a corner in Central Park.
The Foo Fighters may be suffering from Yanni Syndrome. It’s a malady where artists seek out landmarks of unparalleled significance because 1) they can, and 2) because they may see it as a setting befitting of their stature. Their choice was the Acropolis. And by the Acropolis, I don’t mean the Acropolis Gyro Palace in Columbus, Ohio, or the Acropolis Steakhouse in Portland, Oregon. This is THE Acropolis in Athens, Greece, the UNESCO World Heritage site. Hopefully there was a hefty rental fee that will help towards the preservation of the crumbling site.
Mont Saint-Michel: Resistance Through the Ages
Saturday, December 16, at 8pm on CET
It looks like a fortress where an evil sorcerer lived in a Harry Potter chapter, but this eighth century abbey-turned commune sits on a massive rock just a wee bit off the coast in Normandy, France. It attracts 2.5 to 3 million tourists each year and that’s saying something, since the only access to it is to walk a third of a mile at low tide. It’s truly a staggering site.
Girls in the Band
Saturday, December 16, at 10pm on CET
You’ll recall in the classic comedy Some Like it Hot that Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis escape the mob and dressed in drag in order to leave town with an all-women jazz band. There actually were such things. Back in the 1920’s and ‘30’s, many women became jazz musicians, but found doors closed to the jazz orchestras of the day. They were willing to be one of the boys, but the boys didn’t budge.
So all-women jazz bands became a novelty act back then.
This film features terrific footage of the women then and now. Their skills provided them with a living, even though they could rarely play the A-list venues reserved for men only.
Independent Lens: Supergirl
Monday, December 18, at 10pm on CET
Thursday, December 21, at 10pm on ThinkTV16
Naomi Kutin is an Orthodox Jewish girl with an extraordinary talent. She’s a powerlifter. When she was all of ten years old and 97 pounds, she could squat 215 pounds. She’s now 15, and at 134 pounds, she reached 321 pounds. She’s earned all sorts of weightlifting records and attention with her nickname of “Supergirl,” but it’s tough to defend her titles when she’ s coming of age and attending Yeshiva in her native New Jersey.
Eric Idle’s Universe
Friday, December 22, at 10pm on CET
Saturday, December 23, at 9pm on ThinkTV16
A cosmic convergence of Professor Brian Cox, a young academic who can make physics understandable to the rest of us, and Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, providing dancers, show tunes and guest stars like Warwick Davis (several chapters of Star Wars and Harry Potter), Noel Fielding and Hannah Waddingham. Let’s just say it’s a high-concept piece of entertainment, but has considerable “cult status” potential.
Looking for the rundown of our holiday shows? You can still find them online at either http://www.cetconnect.org/blogs/blog/holiday-listings-cet-and-thinktv/ or http://www.thinktv.org/blogs/public-media-connect/holiday-listings-cet-and-thinktv/.