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An open fan letter to PBS

Dear PBS,

I had to cut my expanded cable service and now I have only basic.

I don't know if it's because I have no other choices, but I've fallen in love with PBS and now, at night, it's all I watch.

Earth on Fire, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, DCI Banks, NOVA, The Best of Lawrence Welk, Martha Stewart, Shakespeare Uncovered and, of course Downton Abbey.

Seriously, it's nice to be entertained again by watching TV.

Thank You

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 9405/02/2015

Love Hetty. OP do you watch antiques roadshow?

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 102/07/2013

Datalounge is not the PBS email inbox, OP.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 202/07/2013

Yes, r1! I'd always heard of it, never bothered, but now I enjot it; Market Warriors, too.

Reality TV at its best.

I know, r2, but with Saturday mail service gone, well, you know.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 302/07/2013

Lawrence Welk? Good Lord.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 402/07/2013

I didn't know that Hetty was back on. I rather enjoyed that. Wasn't one of the hobbits on it?

Love those programs you listed and I also love MI5, Outnumbered, sorta Miranda, Foyle's War, Wallendar, Dr. Who, Primeval, sometimes Hustle, Doc Martin, Morse, Inspector Lewis for that delicious Laurence Fox, The Cafe, Black Books, New Sherlock Holmes and some I'm forgetting.

I like their finding your roots program, too. Can't think of the name of it.

Not to mention all the various topics on Frontline, Nova, American Experience, etc.

I dropped my cable many years ago and I just don't need it. Also it's great that you can watch lots of shows on the net you may have missed. I almost always miss Market Warriors and just catch it when I have the time.

So I'll drink to PBS and PBS-UK.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 502/07/2013

Yes, r4. Any orchestra whose members all are wearing, for instance, mustard-colored leisure suits, is my kind of entertainment.

Say what you will about LW, at least they had genuine talent. Still, it makes me shudder to wonder about what the lone black guy had to endure.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 602/07/2013

I love Nature as well.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 702/07/2013

I'm p.o.d at them because they dropped all my beloved Italian mysteries at the end of the year for crap about some dumb priest.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 802/07/2013

You can watch PBS shows on their iPad app.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 902/07/2013

[quote]I dropped my cable many years ago and I just don't need it

I got an over the air digital antenna to hook up to my TV for Christmas. Despite there being 2 PBS stations in the market NEITHER of them are receivable at my location despite my being able to receive every Telemundo and home shopping station perfectly along with the lousy commercial networks. So, with basic cable I must stay. Very disappointing.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1002/07/2013

Oh, I forgot to mention American Experience,r5. It's excellent.

PBS short documentaries are great,too. I really enjoyed "Soul Food Junkie."

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1102/07/2013

I love Classic Art Showcase.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1202/07/2013

No other network does documentaries quite like PBS. Frontline, American Experience, America Master, and NOVA.

Ken Burns is a master storyteller. I love all of his specials.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1302/07/2013

People still pay for cable?

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1402/07/2013

CALL THE MIDWIFE is a wonderful show.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1502/08/2013

I saw the first Tales of The City on PBS a few months after I saw it in London...

I wish they'd rerun the old Upstairs Downstairs -- they'd get a ton of viewers.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1602/08/2013

I watch PBS on my iPhone. Frontline is a favorite.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1702/08/2013

My father was a big fan of Lawrence Welk and, of course, I kidded him mercilessly about it when i was a kid. Years later, i have to admit that the musicians in Welk's band were really talented. And the singers performed without benefit of AutoTune!

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 1802/08/2013

R17, is it free? And is it available on Android?

I also dropped cable years ago and find that I don't miss it at all. My local PBS stations provide me with enough to watch.

I'd like to donate money but I hate the hassling one gets after making a contribution. Does anyone know how I can donate anonymously? I know there are a couple of sites that allow you to donate anonymously, but they charge an admin fee. Short of dropping cash off at the local PBS station, I'm not sure how to avoid getting on their donors list.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2002/08/2013

R10, I helped out some viewers with DTV reception issues during the switch. Your PBS stations may still have a designated person on staff who can provide useful suggestions ...contact their engineering departments.

Classic Arts Showcase is wonderful but sort of obscure. It's a free-to-air big dish satellite feed, which is available [italic]gratis[/italic] to cable and local stations. Brought to you by the estates of the arts fans who invented Adolph's Meat Tenderizer.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2102/08/2013

The DTV transition was such a scam. I went from being able to receive all local channels to only being able to receive a handful. Channels that used to be a little bit snowy but still watchable are now choppy and impossible to watch. Just a ploy to get people to pay for cable and allow the FCC to make some money selling spectrum.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2202/08/2013

I had to play with my antenna for a while to get PBS and I am in Washington DC. If I get the 2 out of 4 PBS channels I watch then I can't get one of the main channels like NBC unless I reposition the antenna. C'est la vie.

[quote] I'd like to donate money

Bah humbug! I donated decades ago and I decided that I am getting one thing free in my life. I never got any student aid throughout 7 years of college. I never got family discounts. I'm not going to be getting some lovely government pension with great benefits. Blah blah blah.

THIS is am getting free and I am watching the hell out of it. Let them guilt trip someone else. There are plenty of people with lots more money than I have - let them donate. It's become a status thing to donate enough so you can get your name on a program. Now they let the donors do lame "look at me" commercials for PBS. I guess now that their superior children are grown they need some new baby. Fine. Good for them. Thank you.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2302/08/2013

R22, I had the opposite experience. I went from the worst reception which made TV viewing near impossible to fabulous reception and all these channels I never knew existed.

Maybe you need a different antenna or better converter box.

My only bitch is that whenever planes or helicopters fly over I lose reception. I have missed so many key things like the punch line of a mystery that I end up screaming at the sky.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2402/08/2013

R19 People who presume to speak for everyone else are tiresome.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2502/08/2013

I appreciate PBS, but they appear to be on the verge of cancelling my favorite show there - History Detectives. It's a very popular show but they've played havoc with scheduling for the last two years.

I also wish they'd have picked up the Who Do You Think You Are show that NBC cancelled. Though I do like the Henry Louis Gates genealogy programs.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2602/08/2013

Yes, try a different antenna--you can make one, the directions are online and it is not difficult. You might have to put it up in the attic though. Mine works pretty good but I lose the signal during a strong wind as well as when airplanes fly over.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2702/08/2013

bump

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2802/08/2013

Pat Routledge was fired by the BBC with no notice. In an interview, she said her first knowledge of "Hetty" being cancelled was in a newspaper article.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 2902/08/2013

Anyone remember the BritCom with an old priest and younger priest in his first assignment?

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3002/08/2013

R30, do you mean Ballykissangel? Or something like Father Ted which I have never seen? How do I know the names of shows I've never seen? Damn catalogues everywhere.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3102/08/2013

I don't have cable. I have a Leaf antenna and I get better reception than my neighbor does with cable. I'm not in a flight path but once in a while I get a fraction of a second of interference. A helicopter was searching our neighborhood recently and played havoc with my reception for a couple of minutes.

Other than that, no problems.

I get all of my local PBS stations and much of my TV watching is centered around them.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3202/08/2013

"Anyone remember the BritCom with an old priest and younger priest in his first assignment?"

If you saw it on PBS, it might have been "Bless Me, Father." Does that sound familiar?

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3302/08/2013

American Experience is the best show on television. Excellent production values, great narratives, and a wonderful insight into Americana.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3402/08/2013

Thanks r33, that was the show.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3502/09/2013

WBZ reports that black outs are rampant. Looting in some areas and over 100 reported dead.

WBZ says they can't leave the studios with mound of snow measuring over six feet.

Power is out to tens of thousands of people and the governor has declared a state emergency, where only authorized personnel will be allowed out.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3602/09/2013

R36, is WBZ the Zombie station?

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3702/09/2013

[R19] I find you more tiresome

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3802/09/2013

I used to live in rural New Mexico. PBS television broadcast live opera from the Met. The sound was also broadcast live on public radio. Hence, you could crank up your stereo and listing to great sound along with the broadcast. Now you have to go to a theater and pay 20 bucks for the live opera broadcast.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 3902/09/2013

My local PBS station is repeatedly airing Stanley Donen's "Two for the Road" starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter Finch.

It's awful but, somehow, the more I watch it, the better it gets.

This must have been made to make money off of those like me who weren't satisfied that they never did the wild thing in "A Nun's Story."

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4102/10/2013

Here is a Lawrence Welk clip you folks might enjoy ... heh heh heh ...

I had thought Hyacinth was "a fag thing" until my former bf's evangelical Okie cousin made reference to her in conversation while we were visiting Tulsa a few years ago.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4202/10/2013

lol

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4302/10/2013

I watched "Doc Martin" for the first time last night.

What a weird show. I don't know if I've ever watched a series where the lead character is unredeemably unlikable.

I think I liked it.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4402/10/2013

Della --

There was a Britcom called "The Young Ones" where Rik Mayall's lead character was pretty damned unlikeable!

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4502/10/2013

I've often read, r44 and 45 that, generally speaking, Brit humor and American humor are two different animals.

Here in the states, mainstream leading characters in TV series have to have some redeeming characteristic.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4602/10/2013

I have two PBS stations available in my area and they are both terrible. There isn't anything on. Downton Abbey and once in a while some Masterpiece Mystery. And again, that's once in a great while

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4702/10/2013

[quote] I had thought Hyacinth was "a fag thing" until my former bf's evangelical Okie cousin made reference to her in conversation while we were visiting Tulsa a few years ago.

I used to think that too. But I have noticed that everyone who I've ever worked with knows about Hyacinth. Even the crazy redneck republicans. Most people have watched the Brit-coms on PBS

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4802/10/2013

"Earth From Space" on Nova was fantastic.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 4902/14/2013

OP: PBS is always in need of funds. If you can afford to do so, you may show your appreciation by giving a donation to your local PBS station.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5002/14/2013

When cable TV emerged in the 1980's it was presumed that PBS would go out of business. Now that most "quality" cable networks have devolved to being shrills for shitty reality shows, PBS seems to be the only quality programmer left on the dial.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5102/15/2013

Eldergay thread!

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5202/15/2013

Bump for PBS.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5302/18/2013

In Chicago, WTTW, the main PBS carrier, has three digital channels for those of us with free TV: The regular WTTW, WTTW Prime, which replays the prime time shows all day, and the Create Channel, which is all home improvement, cooking, crafts, travel, etc.

There's a second PBS station affiliated with the City Colleges of Chicago.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5402/18/2013

I live in Iowa, and IPTV has an excellent variety of shows. We also just have antenna reception (chose not to get cable, and still get NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and several other channels as well via digital antenna), and we get 3 IPTV stations, the regular one, IPTV Learns, and IPTV Create. My favorite show (aside from Downton Abbey) is This Old House. The have barely strayed from their original intent; showing practical, interesting home improvement work. I only wish the shows were longer than 22 minutes.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5502/18/2013

and their endless begging for money.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5602/18/2013

r56, within the industry the Fund Raisers are known as Beg-A-Thons.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5702/18/2013

The new season of "This Old House" sucks. Apparently the whole season will be about people from Hurricane Sandy.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5810/19/2013

[quote]I had to cut my expanded cable service and now I have only basic.

Heaven forbid you should get off your ass and actually DO something with your life.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 5910/19/2013

[quote]I'd like to donate money but I hate the hassling one gets after making a contribution. Does anyone know how I can donate anonymously? I know there are a couple of sites that allow you to donate anonymously, but they charge an admin fee. Short of dropping cash off at the local PBS station, I'm not sure how to avoid getting on their donors list.

I agree, r20, once you're in their computer you get an avalanche of junk mail and phone calls. And it never stops.

I'm lucky because a generous businessman friend has a foundation through which I can anonymously donate. Nobody is charged an admin fee.

Ask around. There are bound to be more of these foundations.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6010/19/2013

R59 Anti-TV Cunt. Possible Cunt of the Day. And not for a moment do I imagine him to be a born-with-a-vagina woman.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6110/19/2013

I missed the first episode of season 3 Downton Abby, anyone know when it will be replayed. Thanks

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6210/19/2013

Shout out for America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country.

I remember that Simpson's episode when Homer made a fake PBS pledge so that they'd shut up and go back to showing "Do Shut Up." What he said at the time was true, "the rich mosaic of cable programming has made public television so very, very unnecessary." Now it's come back around. All those channels that used to feature nature, history, performing arts, etc. are all trash TV.

I also wish that Motor Week was longer than half an hour...

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6310/19/2013

[quote]The new season of "This Old House" sucks. Apparently the whole season will be about people from Hurricane Sandy.

Yeah, that bugs me a bit, r58. They're covering three different houses. Two are going to be completely raised (one is going ten feet higher, I think), the third one is being bulldozed and replaced with a prefab home. Not keeping in the spirit of the show. It would be good if this were a separate show about rebuilding after the hurricane, not as the new season. They just did an "on the coastline" season a year or two ago, and then the "Scandanavian Modern" house, which looked great on the outside, but totally dull on the inside.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6410/19/2013

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks an entire season of that is stupid. I wish they'd go back into Boston proper and do a season on a nice old townhouse.

And yes, that "Scandinavian Modern" house was hideously plain on the inside.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6510/19/2013

"Death in Paradis" is just starting here on WPT. It's not very good. Isn't the theme of white man fish out of water a bit dated?

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6610/19/2013

I love PBS Masterpiece Theatre, NewsHour, Foyle's War, Call the MidWife, Doc Martin our station even have repeats on repeats of "Are You Being Served" What galls me, most of these shows are BBC produced. I have BBC-A on my cable line up and what a joke. Hours upon hours of racing cars "Top Gear" or a stupid movie, or more hours of Ramsey in his kitchen. Rarely a dramatic presentation, this is not the British BBC but BBC altered to American taste that one could find on any one of the hundreds of cable channels.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6710/19/2013

r67, do you know if another season of Doc Martin is produced?

The last episode ended when Doc professes his love for what's-her-name after their baby is retrieved from that woman who owned the pharmacy that was obsessed with him.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6810/19/2013

I lived in a rural area for part of my graduate work--multiple PBS stations and I'll never watch nature show or the other non-controversial stuff again. Lawrence Welk? It's obvious from the theme shows (e.g., Duke Ellington) that he'd become tone deaf by the later years.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 6910/19/2013

R66, Della give Death in Paradise a chance, lots of hot womwn and men, I'm already in love with the young police cadet, Fidel. He is so fine.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7010/21/2013

I will,r70 if only because it's still better than a lot of network or cable fare.

I find the racial aspect of DIP interesting and a bit uncomftorble. I'll sticjk around for season 2 to see where the attraction between the leads ends up.

As if I don't know now.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7110/21/2013

Dear OP,

Wrong website.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7210/21/2013

I started watching Scott and Bailey, a gritty crime series with two women detectives. It can be very grim and caustic. All the high ranking police officers are played by women which gives it a weird slant until you realize that most police dramas are exclusively male.

I'd missed an episode recently so I watched it online, and then I watched the next one and then I started on Season 3 which was so absolutely gut-wretchingly brilliant that I stayed up all night to watch it till the end.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7310/21/2013

r73, I've seen one episode of Scott and Bailey; the one where one of them discovers her lover is married; and this was after sleeoing with him for a long time. She fakes a car breakdown, goes to his home meets the wife...

Something was off about that episode.

Since that was the only one I watched, I'll give it another chance. If I fall in love with it, it wouldn't be the first time that a show I intially disliked I ended up never missing.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7410/22/2013

My most recent PBS discovery is The Paradise, on Masterpiece Theatre. I watched the first episode last night and I see a couple more are available on the PBS site. It's about a department store in 1870's England. I think it's what Selfridge (Jeremy Piven was so miscast!) could have been. It held my interest, anyway, which is more than Selfridge did.

I'm also a big fan of Foyle's War and Doc Martin. Della, can't remember where I heard it now, but Doc Martin is coming back in 2014, I think.

I will have to check out Scott and Bailey.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7510/22/2013

I caught "The Paradise," too, r75. I wondered what came first- this or Selfridge.

I like them both. To me, however, it's obvious that Selfridge costs so much more to produce. The sets,costumes and locations of Selfridge are much richer than Paradise.

I hope Selfridge comes back. I love the look of it and the theme music is fantastic.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7610/22/2013

PBS was important to me as a kid, in the 1960s and 1970s, before the advent of cable, before there was a choice of more than a handful of channels, before alternatives to the commercial/public split in networks, and before international production and/or distribution agreements became commonplace.

Today I sometime wonder if PBS wouldn't be better as a restructured entity, not for any perceived taxpayer savings and not because I'm some Tea Party numbskull alleging Liberal Bias, but because the system seems such an awkward hybrid, because it doesn't live up to its potential.

PBS seems a lot of things, but very few done well, and a lot of those things quite redundant: the same five Brit-com series run daily for decade after decade after decade; Yanni at the Acropolis, John Tesh at Red Rock, Peter Paul & Mary fat and old and still boring, NOVA which makes a time when science has never been more exciting as dull as old dishwater in its choices; Suze Orman in that same shit brown leather jacket...

Instead of being a dusty old chocolate sampler box aimed not to offend anyone too much, PBS could split as three or four good things: isolate the children's programming; isolate the classic Brit-coms for those who could (and maybe do) watch the 69 episodes of Ar You Being Served? 10,000 times; assemble a news and documentary network (like the still excellent American Experience); assemble a network of original drama and programming, with "classics" from its archives shown at off-hours.

I get 10 HBO channels, 7 Showtime channels, and four PBS channels - but nine times out of ten all showing the same thing at the very same time.

The best British programming isn't in the exclusive grasp of PBS anymore (nor, inexplicably, in BBC-America's), but is available dispersed among many networks. The Smithsonian Channel has been around for four years as a limited effort in conjunction with Showtime but it often has better science and arts and history programming, with more variety than PBS. The Shorts Channel, DirecTV's in-house Audience, and other networks offer interesting things, while PBS trots out the Four Dead Tenors in Taos for the 179th time.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7710/22/2013

I also do not have cable - never did. I live in Brooklyn and, with my $40 antenna, I get three PBS stations - NYC, Long Island, and NJ. Did anybody else see Absolute Power? It was a BritCom about a Public Relations company. It was a spin-off of a radio program and I believe there are only 12 episodes. Stephen Fry is one of the bosses of the agency.

One program featured them trying to spin a guy with the last name of Bin Ladin who was trying to buy British Airlines.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7810/22/2013

Another thing about Scott and Bailey is that the characters are resolutely unlikeable for the most part yet they still have friends and relationships and workaday success. It's kind of refreshing.

I usually watch UK series directly online. There was one with the upcoming Dr Who which was just screaming crazy about political life, The Thick of It. Brutally funny.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 7910/22/2013

PBS needs us to survive.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8011/11/2013

r73, r79

I kept up with Scott & Bailey and now I never miss it. Thanks for encouraging me to stick with it.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8101/16/2014

"Great Estates Scotland" is on tonight. The show tours beautiful historic mansions.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8210/12/2014

[quote]PBS needs us to survive.

Probably not so much, since the Koch Brothers now own Nova. I quit watching Nova as soon as they took over.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8310/13/2014

"How We Got To Now" is a great documentary series on every Wednesday.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8410/29/2014

One of my favorite PBS stations is Create TV. I adore all the cooking shows.

Does anyone in NYC who has Verizon Fios know if Create TV is one of the channels they give?

I don't have Fios but I heard it might soon come to my Brooklyn NY neighborhood.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8510/29/2014

I am old enough to remember when PBS was the only channel on tv to find commercial free movies!

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8610/29/2014

Masterpiece/Mystery Antiques Roadshow PBS NewsHour

Just about every British drama that should be on BBC-A which is an absolute farce unless you love to watch cars on Top Gear for oh, 8 or 9 hours. Then BBC-A has a Hollywood movie..

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8710/29/2014

I won't let you down

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8810/29/2014

They show too much new-age garbage for my liking, e.g., Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 8910/29/2014

Dear PBS

Please contact the producers of DCI Banks and ask them to wipe that horrible lipstick off Caroline Catz

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 9005/02/2015

American Masters, Antiques Roadshow, American Experience, and the occasional "special" featuring all of those humpy Irish-Scottish-Welsh boys from Celtic Thunder.

And R52? "Smart People thread," is what you MEANT to type. Now, be a good little princess, and go back to watching KUWTK, please.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 9105/02/2015

Well, you kind of lost me with Lawrence Welk but IA with most of your other faves. I love PBS and one of my favorite PBS channels is Create with all the great cooking shows. If you're not into cooking they have many other how to shows on painting, home repair, sewing, I think knitting and probably lots of other things.

My grandfather was not a well to do or even comfortable but he always donated to PBS. He watched it every night and said he felt like a freeloader if he didn't donate.

I watch but shame on me, I never donate. Not that I could ever give much but I never gave anything.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 9205/02/2015

Love PBS.

For those of us with a brain who reject "E" and "Bravo" and Ms. Cohjen's housewives nonsense, PBS is one of the few alternatives to mindless trash.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 9305/02/2015

I got rid of cable a few years ago and only have an antenna. I think 95% of the time I have the TV on, it's on a PBS channel (I have 4 available, regular PBS, PBS Kids, Create and PBS4U which pretty much just shows the same thing as on PBS)

I love Create, they have some great shows on there. I'm getting into watching Nick Stellino now, because I suspect he's drunk on a lot of the show and his moobs jiggle nicely.

by Elder and Late to the partyreply 9405/02/2015
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