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Documentary

The War: “The Ghost Front”

Tonight’s episode of The War begins with an incredibly eerie account from Ray Leopold, who explains a conversation he had with a German soldier who had just been captured by his outfit. The German, in perfect, accent-free English, persists in asking Leopold the exact location from which he comes. When Leopold tells him he is from Waterbury, Connecticut, the German turns out to be very familiar with the minute details of the area. Puzzled, Leopold asks how he knows so much. Following the German’s explanation, Leopold says, “my blood ran cold.” The German mentions that he has been trained “for […]

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Documentary

The War: “FUBAR”

Ken Burns’ The War picks up again this Sunday with the first of its final three episodes. When we last saw the series, hopes of a quick end to the war in Europe were running high following the D-Day invasion, and the Allies’ rapid advance toward the German border. But as we see in this episode, nothing can be assumed, certainly not victory against a desperate opponent in wartime. Overconfidence can lead to things becoming “FUBAR” — F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition — very quickly. Now, your local PBS station may choose to run a version of this episode that […]

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Documentary

The War: “Pride of Our Nation”

In “Pride of Our Nation,” the last episode of The War for this week (three more are to come next week), we see Americans’ hope begin to increase as the long-awaited invasion of France — D-Day — finally occurs. As we all know from fictional accounts such as Saving Private Ryan, the disastrous American D-Day landing at Omaha Beach was the bloodiest day in U.S. history since the Civil War. Since we have seen so many histories of this battle, there is not an inordinate amount of time spent on it, but there are enough new angles to make an […]

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Documentary

The War: “A Deadly Calling”

Tonight’s episode of The War, airing on PBS at 8pm ET/PT, covers the months from November 1943 up until June 1944, and is titled “A Deadly Calling.” It’s an apt title, coming from one veteran’s recollection of how he (and most others) came to accept their duty to kill in this now total war, where once they had subscribed to “Thou shalt not kill.” It also describes how the American public came to realize just how deadly this calling was. Through the first two years of the war, even though the dreaded and heartbreaking telegrams to wives and mothers kept […]

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Documentary

Ken Burns’ Necessary “War”

In the first episode of The War, Ken Burns’ incredible new miniseries premiering this Sunday on PBS, a veteran of World War II describes that conflict as “a necessary war.” History has proven that to be correct. And history should also determine that Burns’ documentary is a very necessary and worthwhile endeavor, as it manages to put on film valuable recollections of that monumental moment in world, and particularly American, history. With many from that “greatest generation” now passing away each day, it is crucial to gain whatever information from them that we can. As the introduction to each episode of […]

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TCA

Tales From TCA — July 11 (PBS)

The Summer Television Critics Association press tour is underway in Beverly Hills. PBS continued its presentation today with several announcements: * The new PBS World network will launch Aug. 15, with documentary, public affairs and news programming available 24/7. Series such as Nova, Frontline, Nature and more will be regularly featured on the channel, which will initially be offered in 20 major and mid-sized markets around the country. * WordGirl — Premieres Sept. 7. Weekly animated series airing as part of PBS Kids. It follows the adventuresof fifth-grader Becky Botsford, who can transform into a superheroine and use vocabulary to defeat outlaws bent on “word” domination. […]