A Look Ahead With WPT’s Director of Programming

November 1, 2012 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

Read up on November’s “don’t miss” programs selected by Director of Programming, Garry Denny. Find all the programs listed below and more on the WPT Schedule.

Doc Martin
Martin Clunes is quite the singular actor. In our series William and Mary he plays a wonderfully kind, outgoing man who loves his family. In Doc Martin, Clunes plays an irascible curmudgeon that always seems to have a sour disposition. Regardless, Clunes manages to make you love both characters. Of course, we’ve had Doc Martin on the air for several seasons now, but we’re very excited to return to the season that began it all. Whether you’re a new viewer or a returning fan now is the time for you to see the entire series from the beginning and fall in love all over again with Dr. Ellingham, Louisa and the villagers of Portwenn. Doc Martin premiers 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.

NOVA scienceNOW “What Are Animals Thinking?
Garrys-Golden-RetrieversI’m a big time dog and animal lover. I have two golden retrievers that I often refer to as my furry juvenile delinquents. Every wonderful interaction with them I assume that I know exactly what they’re thinking. I look at them and think, “they must want to go out and play” when really they could be thinking, “that piece of hamburger we stole yesterday was awesome.” I guess I’ll never know the truth. That’s where NOVA scienceNOW “What Are Animals Thinking?” comes in.
Watch a preview and learn the meaning of dog barks.
Host David Pogue (New York Times tech columnist) takes us into the world of animal behavior research, including an experiment to determine whether dogs ever feel guilty, a look at the amazing navigation skills of pigeons, and the swarm intelligence of bees. Pogue makes for a fun, funny and endlessly curious host and NOVA scienceNOW is one of my favorite shows on television. Give it a glance and be ready to be entertained and educated. NOVA scienceNOW “What Are Animals Thinking?” premiers 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Bottoms Up: Wisconsin’s Historic Bars and Breweries
Bottoms-Up-Wisconsin-Public-TelevisionOkay, I’ve just admitted to loving dogs. Now I’ll admit to loving bars. I have found that there isn’t a day so bad that a well-crafted cocktail can’t make better. In our own WPT original production Bottoms Up: Wisconsin’s Historic Bars and Breweries we take a fun look at the state’s long history of great bars, breweries and local hangouts.
Browse a map of bars featured in the film and companion book, and locate a venue hosting a premiere screening in your area.

In this wonderfully nostalgic documentary we get a great history lesson, but more importantly we get to visit so many colorful bars and meet their colorful regulars. So, I highly recommend that you grab a beer (or wine or fruit juice), sit yourself in front of the television and join us for the premiere of Bottoms Up: Wisconsin’s Historic Bars and Breweries at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12. The film encores at 11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19.

The Dust Bowl
Dust-Bowl-Ken-BurnsWhen I was in school, mention of The Dust Bowl was brief and not very informative. So, when I watched this documentary it became immediately clear that I knew nothing about this catastrophic event in American history. From filmmakers Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan (National Parks), The Dust Bowl is a two-night, four-hour documentary event that explores the event in depth and amazing detail. Using astonishing archival footage and photographs, The Dust Bowl traces the roots of the environmental calamity through its horrific effects on land and people, to the aftermath of what has been called the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.

As with all Ken Burns documentaries you know you can expect a lot of wonderful personal accounts that bring the story close to home and give you a reason to keep watching. In a word, it’s riveting. The Dust Bowl premiers 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 and concludes 7 p.m.  Monday, Nov. 19. Please note that each episode repeats the same night at 9 p.m.

Inventing David Geffen: American Masters
Chances are that if you’ve seen a movie, listened to a CD (iTunes for you non-luddites), seen a Broadway play, or watched a television show you’ve been exposed to the work of David Geffen. He may not be a household name, but David Geffen is arguably one of the most influential and powerful people in show business. His career spans decades and his influence on popular culture in inestimable.

Geffen started out in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency in the 1960s where he was instrumental in launching the careers of Joni Mitchell, the Eagles and Jackson Browne. He started Geffen Records, was one of the partners in DreamWorks SKG (with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg), and produced Oscar-winning films American Beauty, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind. In this totally engrossing documentary David Geffen narrates the story of his own life, including the lows and the highs, and features many music, film and Broadway stars who give sometimes-brutal views of the man and his career. This is a documentary not to be missed. David Geffen: American Masters premieres 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20 at and encores 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23.

Preview a clip from the film in which David Crosby and Neil Young comment on the deals made in the Geffen Roberts Office.

Downton Abbey, Season 2 Marathon
As a way to say thanks to all the fans of Masterpiece “Downton Abbey” and get you primed for the premiere of season 3 in January 2012, we’re doing a marathon of all of season 2 on Thanksgiving Day. Starting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22 you can see (or DVR) the entire second season of Downton Abbey. I think it’s better than football, but I may be a tad biased.

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