Look what's coming to Blue Ridge PBS!
National Memorial Day Concert 2014
Sunday, May 25 at 8:00pm & Friday, May 30 at 9:00pm
Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise co-host the 25th anniversary broadcast of this night of remembrance honoring the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. The NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT airs live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before an audience of hundreds of thousands, millions at home, and to our troops around the world via American Forces Network.
Wednesdays at 8:00pm
NATURE has been the benchmark of natural history programs on television, capturing the splendors of the natural world from the African plains to the Antarctic ice. The series has won more than 600 honors from the television industry, parent groups, the international wildlife film community and environmental organizations, including 10 Emmys, three Peabodys and the first award given to a television program by the Sierra Club. Find out more about NATURE at pbs.org/wnet/nature/
May 7 – Shark Mountain
Underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall have spent 25 years diving and documenting the most remote and beautiful underwater locations, always learning something new about the fantastic creatures that live there. Yet even these remote places and creatures are at risk in today’s world; being able to share their experiences with the rest of us is increasingly important to the Halls, and to us. They take viewers along on the dive of a lifetime, to a tiny outpost 300 miles off the coast of Central America — Shark Mountain.
May 14 – Leave It to Beavers
A growing number of scientists, conservationists and grassroots environmentalists have come to regard beavers as overlooked tools in the effort to reverse the disastrous effects of global warming and worldwide water shortages. View these industrious rodents, once valued for their fur or hunted as pests, in a new light through the eyes of this novel assembly of beaver enthusiasts and “employers” who reveal the ways in which the presence of beavers can transform and revive landscapes. With their skills as natural builders and brilliant hydro-engineers, beavers are being recruited to accomplish everything from finding water in a bone-dry desert to recharging water tables and coaxing life back into damaged lands.
May 21 – The Gathering Swarms
Get a look at some of the planet’s great gatherings, creatures that come together in inconceivable numbers — sometimes in millions, billions, even trillions. Included are bats and bees, locusts and ants, monarch butterflies in Mexico, 17-year cicada hatches, grunion in the Sea of Cortez and carp in the Mississippi River, sardine runs off the coast of South Africa, super flocks of parakeets in the Australian Outback, mayflies on the 4th of July and even penguins and wildebeest. Some gather to breed or to migrate, some for protection, some simply to keep warm in the cold. But in the process, a kind of super-organism is created in which individual intelligence is superseded by a collective consciousness that shares information and moves with a single purpose for the benefit of all. Check out swarm intelligence, essentially a living embodiment of social media in the natural world.
May 28 – American Eagle
Unique to North America, the bald eagle is the continent’s most recognizable aerial predator, with a shocking white head, electric yellow beak, and penetrating eyes. In the 1960s, this symbol of the United States became an emblem of environmental degradation as the pesticide DDT and other human pressures brought it to the brink of extinction. But following their protection as an endangered species, bald eagles have come roaring back. Photographed by three-time Emmy-winning cinematographer Neil Rettig, this first-ever HD hour on bald eagles is an intimate portrait of these majestic raptors’ lives in the wild.
Wednesdays AT 8:00PM
PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA programs demystify science and technology, and highlight the people involved in scientific pursuits. Check out the NOVA Next website at pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next.
May 7 –Why Sharks Attack
In recent years, an unusual spate of deadly shark attacks has gripped Australia, resulting in five deaths in 10 months. At the same time, great white sharks have begun appearing in growing numbers off the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not far from the waters where Steven Spielberg filmed Jaws. What’s behind the mysterious arrival of this apex predator in an area where it’s rarely been seen for hundreds of years? Are deadly encounters with tourists inevitable?
To separate fact from fear, NOVA teams with leading shark experts in Australia and the United States to uncover the science behind the great white’s hunting instincts. With shark populations plummeting, scientists race to unlock the secrets of these powerful creatures of the deep in their quest to save people — and sharks.
May 14 –Escape from Nazi Alcatraz
Colditz Castle, a notorious prisoner of war camp in Nazi Germany, was supposed to be escape-proof. But in World War II, a group of British officers dreamt up an escape plan: in a secret attic workshop, they constructed a two-man glider out of bed sheets and floorboards. The plan was to fly to freedom from the roof of the castle, but the war ended before they could put it to the test.
Now a team of aero engineers and carpenters rebuilds the glider in the same attic using the same materials, and they’ll use a bathtub full of concrete to catapult the glider off the roof. As the hair-raising launch 90 feet up draws near, the program explores the Colditz legend and exposes the secrets of other ingenious and audacious escapes. Then, after a 70-year wait, the team finally finds out if the legendary glider plan would have succeeded.
May 21 – Bombing Hitler’s Dams
In 1943 a squadron of Lancaster bombers staged one of the most audacious raids in history — destroying two gigantic dams in Germany’s industrial heartland and cutting the water supply to arms factories — with a revolutionary bouncing bomb invented by British engineer Barnes Wallis. Wallis and the pilots of 617 Squadron dealt a mighty blow to the German war machine.
Now, NOVA re-creates the extreme engineering challenges faced by Wallis and the pilots with the aid of six spectacular experiments. Each represents a technical challenge that the “Dambusters” had to solve to make their mission a success. A team of experts — from dam engineers to explosives specialists — steps into the shoes of the Dambusters. They will adapt a vintage World War II DC4 to carry a bomb the size of an oil drum; train to drop it from a dangerously low altitude in pitch darkness; get it to bounce over obstacles and onto the target; and finally, at a test site in Canada with a 1:6 scale model of one of the German dams, try to repeat history.
May 28 – D-Day’s Sunken Secrets
On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched an armada to invade the Normandy beaches and liberate Europe from the Nazis. Hundreds of ships sank while running the gauntlet of mines and bunkers, creating one of the world’s largest underwater archaeological sites. Now, NOVA has exclusive access to an extensive survey of the seabed bordering the beachheads.
Dive teams, submersibles and underwater robots will identify key examples of the Allied craft that fell victim to German shellfire, mines and torpedoes. Highlighting the ingenious technology that helped the Allies overcome the German defenses, and featuring first-hand accounts from Allied veterans who have returned to the site of this epic battle to share their harrowing stories, the program presents a blow-by-blow account of D-Day events and reveals how the Allies’ intricate planning and advanced technology were vital to assure the success of the most ambitious and risky military operation ever launched.
On the Trail of Captain John Smith: Rediscovering Chesapeake Bay
Monday, May 12 at 7:00pm
An unprecedented reenactment voyage of John Smith's historic explorations of Chesapeake Bay in 1608… follow the journey of Smith's reconstructed 30 foot open boat, or shallop, and its crew of adventurers to highlight the story of Smith's expeditions. Through the voyage we explore the state of the Bay and its diverse river systems and ecologies -- then and now. And we discover some of the inviting and unique Bay splendors that await those who will undertake their own voyages along the newly chartered Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
Pennsylvania Ballet at 50
Friday, May 2 at 9:00pm
Friday, May 2 at 9:00pm This special showcases one of Philadelphia’s cultural treasures, Pennsylvania Ballet, and honors the company’s golden anniversary. Featured are the pas de deux from After the Rain by Christopher Wheeldon, Under the Sun Pas de Deux by Margo Sappington and “Diamonds” from Jewels by George Balanchine. Included are interviews with Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet founder, and Roy Kaiser, artistic director of the company.