My Top Five: Detectives

There are loads of private investigators to choose from on the many series UNC-TV has broadcast over the decades. One series alone (Mystery!) is pretty much devoted to the genre. So I started thinking: who are my personal favorite detectives?

I tried to gravitate towards characters that are sleuths first and foremost rather than police constables who utilize procedure to apprehend criminals. A fine line, I agree – but it narrowed the focus a bit.

As always, these are MY TOP FIVE. Not the best, not the most popular – just my personal favorites. Thus, without further ado, here are MY TOP FIVE: DETECTIVES…

5) The Gumshoes of ACME, Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? – The sleuths of ACME come perilously close to falling under the “police” category since they are part of an organization, but they are gumshoes (it’s in their name) so I had to include them. Throw in Special Agent Greg Lee and Lynne Thigpen as The Chief and the WITWICS gumshoes will always be cool. Continue reading

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My Top Five: Birds

It’s Thanksgiving week so I thought I’d ponder the birds of public broadcasting. There may be some pretty obvious ones from which to choose but I tend to gravitate towards the deeper cuts, so to speak. So here you go – MY TOP FIVE PUBLIC BROADCASTING BIRDS. Not the best or whatever superlative you fancy – simply MY personal Top Five.

5) X THE OWL – Voiced by Mister Rogers himself, X the Owl was one of the denizens of the Neighborhood of Make Believe. X lived in the old oak tree next to Henrietta Pussycat and was always eager and cheerful. 

4) THE “IT’S THE PLUMBER” PARROT – One of my favorite animated bits from the original The Electric Company featured an earnest plumber and a precocious parrot. “Who is it?” “It’s the plumber. I’ve come to fix the sink.” Continue reading

My Top Five: Superheroes

Superheroes are big business these days, what with movies and TV shows and, of course, the comic book adventures that have delighted fanboys for decades. But public broadcasting also has a history of superhero characters in various forms. So here are my TOP FIVE PUBLIC BROADCASTING SUPERHEROES.

5) SUPER GROVER – Super Grover (now Super Grover 2.0) is Sesame Street’s well-meaning but inept hero who is “faster than lightning, stronger than steel, smarter than a speeding bullet” (and cute too). Certainly Grover was one of my favorite Muppets as a kid so it’s only natural his superhero persona would be as well. And anyone who can rock a visored helmet and cape like he does gets a thumbs up in my book. Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

After five years of war in Syria, the remaining citizens of Aleppo are readying themselves for a siege. Through the volunteers known as the White Helmets, experience firsthand the daily struggle for sanity in a country at war. Join POV for Last Men In Aleppo – tonight at 10 on UNC-TV.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the number one movie in the country. Why is that important? Well, I could say it’s nice to see an Electric Company regular make it big besides Morgan Freeman. But the real reason is to celebrate Tom Holland’s success. The actor (who stars as Peter Parker and Spider-Man) may be recognizable to UNC-TV viewers as Gregory Cromwell in Wolf Hall.

Traverse the Arctic wilderness and African bush as scientific teams utilize new technology to track caribou, zebras and elephants as they overcome obstacles and face fearless predators on their epic journeys. catch the premiere of Nature’s Great Race – Wednesday at 9pm on UNC-TV.

Speaking of Marvel movies, Benedict Cumberbatch took a day off from filming the next two Avengers movies to spend some time in Atlanta with a fine feathered friend.

Monty Python fans, take heed! Michael Palin returns to television in a dramatic turn as an elderly man who becomes the sole witness to a violent death. Tune in for the gripping new mini-series Remember Me – beginning Sunday night at 10 on UNC-TV. [Check out this New York Times article about Palin’s role.] Continue reading

My Top Five: Kids Show Theme Songs

Since the beginning, kids shows have been a staple of PBS programming. If you grew up watching them, you know full well how catchy the theme songs to most kids shows are. And these are theme songs that still resonate decades after you watched them as a kid. That’s why I put together MY TOP FIVE in the following category: Kids Show Theme Songs.

5. The Electric Company – “HEY, YOU GUYS!!!!” I’m talking about the 1970s version here (nothing against the newer one). It’s groovy and poppy and so energetic (befitting, of course, its source).

4. Wishbone – He’s the little dog with the big imagination and he’s got a great theme. What’s the story? The story is I’ll find myself singing this cute, catchy ditty without prompting.

3. Bill Nye The Science Guy – If you know that science rules, you’ve probably caught the Science Guy in action back in the 90s. That electropop theme almost seems like a dance remix of another theme, which is pretty cool. And though it hasn’t been necessary yet, I am ever ready to chant “Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!” at the drop of a hat. Continue reading