Look what's coming to Blue Ridge PBS!
Mondays at at 10:00pm
The award-winning POV (a cinema term for “point of view”) series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America's best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers.
July 7 – My Way to Olympia
Who better to cover the Paralympics, the international sporting event for athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities, than Niko von Glasow, the world’s best-known disabled filmmaker? Unfortunately — or fortunately for anyone seeking an insightful and funny documentary — this filmmaker frankly hates sports and thinks the games are “a stupid idea.” Born with severely shortened arms, von Glasow serves as an endearing guide to London’s Paralympics competition. As he meets a one-handed Norwegian table tennis player, the Rwandan sitting volleyball team, an American archer without arms and a Greek paraplegic boccia player, his own stereotypes about disability and sports are delightfully punctured.
July 14 – Getting Back to Abnormal
What happens when America’s most joyous, dysfunctional city rebuilds itself after a disaster? New Orleans is the setting of “Getting Back to Abnormal,” a film that serves up a provocative mix of race, corruption and politics to tell the story of the re-election campaign of Stacy Head, a white woman in a city council seat traditionally held by a black representative. Supported by her irrepressible African-American aide Barbara Lacen-Keller, Head polarizes the city as her candidacy threatens to diminish the power and influence of its black citizens. Featuring a cast of characters as colorful as the city itself, the film presents a New Orleans that outsiders rarely see.
July 21 – Dance For Me
Professional ballroom dancing is very big in little Denmark. Since success in this intensely competitive art depends on finding the right partner, aspiring Danish dancers often look beyond their borders to find their matches. In this film, 15-year-old Russian performer Egor leaves home and family to team up with 14-year-old Mie, one of Denmark’s most promising young dancers. Strikingly different, Egor and Mie bond over their passion for Latin dance — and for winning. As they head to the championships, so much is at stake: emotional bonds, career and the future. “Dance for Me” is a poetic coming-of-age story, with a global twist and thrilling dance moves.
July 28 – Fallen City
In today’s go-go China, an old city completely destroyed by a devastating earthquake can be rebuilt — boasting new and improved civic amenities — in an astoundingly quick two years. But, as “Fallen City” reveals, the journey from the ruined old city of Beichuan to the new Beichuan nearby is long and heartbreaking for the survivors. Three families struggle with loss — most strikingly the loss of children and grandchildren — and feelings of loneliness, fear and dislocation that no amount of propaganda can disguise. First-time director Qi Zhao offers an intimate look at a country torn between tradition and modernity.
Sex in the Wild
Wednesdays at at 10:00pm
This new series, presented by anatomist Joy Reidenberg and veterinarian Mark Evans, examines the reproductive behaviors and biology of four species — elephants, orangutans, kangaroos and dolphins — and takes an in-depth look at how these animals find and woo the opposite sex. It also explores how they mate, give birth and raise their young in extreme environments.
July 16 – Elephants
Joy and Mark travel to Africa to explore the unique reproduction challenges of the largest animal on land — the elephant. Find out how females select the strongest mates, why elephants have the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom and how they safely deliver a 220-pound baby; witness the remarkable first steps of a newborn calf.
July 23 – Orangutans
Joy and Mark travel to Borneo to explore the reproduction challenges of our close cousin — the orangutan. The largest tree dwellers on the planet, orangutans mate, give birth and raise their young high in the jungle canopy. At an orangutan sanctuary in the rainforest, Mark and Joy come face-to-face with a super-male and uncover the latest scientific theories about how these kings exert their power over other males and seduce females in their territory. Joy witnesses the sneaky tactics that the females use to take control of mating and Mark finds out how males fight back. The lengthy period dedicated to raising one child is critical to the success of orangutans and all the other great apes — including us.
July 30 – Kangaroos
In Australia, Joy and Mark uncover the reproductive secrets of some of the strangest mammals on Earth — the pouch-wearing marsupials. Thanks to their bizarre way of reproducing, kangaroos thrive in one of the most unpredictable, drought-prone environments on Earth — the Australian Outback. In Queensland’s eucalyptus forests, he sees how tree-living marsupials — koalas — have mastered gravity-defying sex. At a kangaroo sanctuary, Joy witnesses a tiny newborn’s first steps as it crawls to the pouch, and in Adelaide, she learns how endangered rock wallabies are being saved using foster mothers. During a kangaroo dissection, she learns what makes marsupial reproductive anatomy unique.
August 8 – Dolphins
Joy and Mark investigate the reproductive secrets of marine mammals to learn how animals that breathe air manage to mate, give birth and raise their young underwater. Joy travels to New Zealand to uncover the mating strategy of dusky dolphins. While she reveals the adaptations marine mammals have evolved to mate in the ocean, Mark travels to Mexico to find out how whales find mates in the ocean vastness. Witness a dolphin birth, explore the difficulties of breastfeeding underwater and learn how dolphin and whale young avoid predatory killer whales.
Tuesdays at 8:00pm
With cutting-edge technology that can “read” buildings, ruins and landscapes from ancient worlds, this series reveals physical and forensic history, allowing viewers to reach out and touch the past.
July 1 – Egyptian Pyramids
The team travels to Egypt to scan the pyramids — the tombs of the mighty pharaohs — to find out how the necropolis evolved from simple mud-brick structures to the most impressive buildings in the ancient world. They use their cutting-edge laser technology to scan Djoser’s Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Meidum’s collapsed pyramid, the mysterious Bent Pyramid at Dashur and the famous Great Pyramid at Giza.
July 8 – St. Paul’s Cathedral
Structural engineer Steve Burrows takes his team of laser-scanning experts to St Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of London. They venture inside the majestic dome to explore its groundbreaking three-part structure; determine how the cathedral’s architect, Sir Christopher Wren, overcame unstable foundations and immense structural forces to support his dome; and investigate how the cathedral survived a direct hit by a German bomb during the London Blitz. The laser scans produce genuine revelations and give the team new insight into this iconic architectural masterpiece.
July 15 – Petra
Structural engineer Steve Burrows leads his team of laser-scanning experts to Jordan to scan the ancient desert city of Petra. Using 3D laser-scanning technology, he wants to uncover its construction secrets and shed new light on this architectural wonderland lost to the West for more than 1,000 years.
Sundays at 10:30pm
VICIOUS tells the story of partners Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi), who have lived together in a small central London flat for nearly 50 years. Constantly picking each other apart and holding on to petty slights for decades, Freddie and Stuart are always at each other’s throats, cracking snide remarks aimed at the other’s age, appearance and flaws. However, underneath their vicious, co-dependent fighting, they have a deep love for one another. Freddie and Stuart are often joined by feisty best friend Violet (Frances de la Tour, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) and Ash (Iwan Rheon, “Game of Thrones”), their young, upstairs neighbor.
American Masters – Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning
Friday, August 29 at 9:00pm
Her celebrated photograph “Migrant Mother” is one of the most recognized and arresting images in the world, a haunting portrait that came to represent the suffering of America’s Great Depression. Yet few know the story, struggles and profound body of work of the woman behind the camera: Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – Oct. 11, 1965).
The program explores the life, passions and uncompromising vision of the influential photographer. Her enduring images document five turbulent decades of American history, including the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II Japanese American internment camps. Peabody- and five-time Emmy award-winning cinematographer Dyanna Taylor — the granddaughter of Lange and writer/social scientist Paul Schuster Taylor — directs and narrates this intimate American Masters documentary.