June Sleeper Picks
It can be challenging to look at a month’s worth of quality programming and pick which programs to mark on your calendar. Let Public Media Connect’s Chief Programming Officer Jim Wiener tell you what he’s looking forward to with these June sleeper picks:
1964 Worlds Fair
Thursday, June 2, at 9pm on CET
I saw it as a wee sprat, and while it didn’t quite wow me like New York City (Forget “he World of Tomorrow.” That was in midtown at the Automat!), it was a once in a lifetime experience. Lots of corporations were touting space age technology. The GM, IBM and Westinghouse displays readied us to be consumers for tomorrow. the Vatican Pavilion with Michaelangelo’s Pieta bathed in blue light. The Ireland pavilion where immigrant grandmothers walked on a giant floor map, then stomped their foot on their birthplace. And the lines to the biggest sites were so long, they featured live entertainment along the way as a distraction. All the baby boomer memories are right here.
Thursday, June 2, at 10pm on ThinkTV16
In a world where we face shortages of any number of resources (water, arable land, oil and gas), this sounds like a joke. If Planet Earth had an inexhaustible supply of anything, it has to be sand, right?
Yet it has become a key ingredient in our modern development. Sand is used in everything from construction materials such as asphalt and concrete to glass to metal casting to lithium ion batteries, even an additive in some fast food chili!
But the threat of erosion and the need for specific types of sand have prompted a new gold rush among “sand mafias,” namely smugglers to plunder beaches and rivers for what’s become a very hot commodity. Consider this documentary a real eye opener.
Channel Islands at War
Thursdays, June 16 – June 30, at 9pm on CET
A little known dramatic film by film historian Kevin Brownlow appeared in 1965 titled It Happened Here. It imagined the Nazis successfully invading Britain, setting up a Fascist puppet government, and pitting British sympathizers against the resistance. This drama fit the genre of speculative fiction, but in fact Germany DID occupy British territory during the war, namely the islands of Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey and Sark in the English channel.
Hosted by John Nettles (Midsomer Murders), this three-part series chronicles the occupation over nearly five years. Residents endured terror and near starvation, and divisions between residents, some of whom became collaborators.
Tuesday, June 14, at 11pm on ThinkTV16
Saturday, June 18, at 10:30pm on CET
The infamous Johns Committee was a little-known Florida legislative investigation committee (named after its chairman: state Senator Charley Johns) that flourished in the mid- ‘50’s to mid ‘60’s. It was originally formed to root out Communists, but really went after the NAACP who pushed for desegregation in the Sunshine state. Eventually the committee turned from desegregation activists to homosexual teachers and students at state universities. The Johns Committee and its scare tactics was successful in having 200 suspected gay and lesbians fired or expelled. Lots of archival footage and headlines from the time, and this includes the first public meeting in 50 years between accused student Chuck Woods and accuser John Tileston, Jr.
Sundays, June 19 – August 21, at 10:30pm on ThinkTV16 and CET
This is the third incarnation of a murder mystery, each involving the grisly discovery of a body that actually turns out to be one half of two bodies, each strategically placed on one side of an international border, thus forcing two very different police departments to work together and hunt down a serial killer.
This latest version finds the body parts in the Chunnel and brings a British and French detective together (actors Stephen Dillane and Clemence Poesy).
The original version of this mystery is a Swedish-Danish production titled The Bridge that came out in 2011, and the crime scene is the Oresund Bridge that connects Copenhagen with Malmo. A second version was commissioned two years later for the FX channel, also titled The Bridge, and took place on the Texas- Chihuahua border. It starred Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds, National Treasure) and Demian Bichir (Hateful Eight).
Independent Lens: Trapped
Monday, June 20, at 10pm on CET
Friday, June 23, at 10:30pm on ThinkTV16
Welcome to the world of “TRAP”(Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws, where legislatures pass restrictive laws against abortion clinics that force them to close their doors. Supporters see it as improving healthcare. Opponents see it as an attempt to regulate abortion out of existence. This follows developments in Texas and Alabama clinics, but such laws have been passed and contested in Ohio.
Newport Effect: Newport Folk Festival
Saturday, June 24, at 9:30pm on ThinkTV16
So a jazz impresario sets up a folk festival in the upper crust enclave of Newport, Rhode Island, and it becomes a bell weather for the entire folk movement. Makes sense.
George Wein already made his mark organizing the Newport Jazz Festival (founded in 1954) when he set up the Newport Folk Festival five years later. The festival introduced America to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and reintroduced old blues greats like Muddy Waters. It was also the place where Dylan, who always played solo with his acoustic guitar and harmonica, shocked the folk purists by playing with the plugged-in Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
Today, the Festival relies on old folk favorites like Baez and Judy Collins, but still introduces the country to newer practitioners of the Americana sound like the Avett Brothers and Decemberists.
Thursdays at 8:55pm on ThinkTV14
A new season premieres June 16. These two-part mysteries are shown back-to-back, and blend idyllic settings in the fictional county of Midsomer (actually shot mostly in Buckinghamshire). Of course the joke is that despite the preciously quaint and picturesque villages, they seem to have a murder rate that would rival El Salvador! But the quantity of bodies aside, they’re all dispatched in a tastefully discreet way befitting the Brits. Solving murders is the order of the day here, and it is done masterfully by the “Pros from Dover,” namely John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby along with Jason Hughes as Detective Sergeant Ben Jones.