TV Lookout: highlights for the week ahead, June 22-28
AP Television Writer
What if you found out that your Rhode Island ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history?
Spurred by this troubling discovery, Katrina Browne set off on an odyssey to make sense of this outrage and, maybe, to make some small amends.
She also makes her first film.
“Traces of the Trade: A Story From the Deep North” follows Browne and nine other descendants of Mark Anthony DeWolf as they travel from Rhode Island to Ghana to Cuba and back ” the infamous Triangle Trade by which the DeWolf family brought some 10,000 African slaves to the Americas (with as many as a half-million of these Africans’ descendants alive today).
Airing Tuesday at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), “Traces of the Trade” begins the 21st season of “P.O.V.,” the Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentary series.
“P.O.V.” (which, of course, is shorthand for “point of view”) will air “Traces” and 14 other films by a wide range of independent filmmakers on a broad scope of topics ” from the U.S. health care crisis and backroom Japanese politics to Palestinians working illegally in Israel and the legendary Johnny Cash.
Next up: In “Election Day” (airing July 1) filmmaker Katy Chevigny combines 11 stories ” all shot simultaneously on Nov. 2, 2004 ” into a single revealing portrait of democracy.
Other shows to look out for:
– PBS’ “Masterpiece” (formerly “Masterpiece Theatre”) moves into its weekly mystery phase with a summer of British crime thrillers. The plot thickens Sunday at 9 p.m. with the first of three “Inspector Lewis” films, starring Kevin Whately (“The English Patient”) as Detective Inspector Robbie Lewis, a working-class crime-solver teamed up with laid-back, cerebral Detective Superintendent James Hathaway (Laurence Fox, “Gosford Park”). Thereafter, “Masterpiece Mystery!” will feature three weeks of “Foyle’s War,” two editions of “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries” and two episodes of “Sally Lockhart,” set in Victorian England and starring Billie Piper (now playing the not-so-Victorian lead in Showtime’s “Secret Diary of a Call Girl”). Host of “Masterpiece Mystery!”: stage and film star Alan Cumming.
– “We like to take a classic song and crucify it,” says Mick, guitarist in the British punk rock group Heavy Load. Witness their versions of “I Fought the Law” and “Wild Thing.” But this band isn’t just a latter-day reply to the Ramones. Three of the five members have learning disabilities. Michael, the drummer, has Down syndrome and for 19 years has lived in a social services group home. They originally got together just for fun. But can Heavy Load make a play for the mainstream, and even record an album? Shot over a span of two years, “Heavy Load: The U.K.’s Only Disabled Punk Band” is described by its filmmaker, Jerry Rothwell, as “a comedy driven by a set of charismatic characters, each with their own conflicting dreams.” It airs at 9 p.m. Monday on IFC network.
– In 1991, Jill Eikenberry and husband Michael Tucker were co-starring on the hit drama “L.A. Law” when they bought land from artist Emile Norman in Big Sur, Calif. As his neighbors, then his friends, the couple became fascinated with his life and work. Now they have co-produced a documentary portrait of Norman, a versatile and playful creative force still at work at age 90. “Emile Norman: By His Own Design” captures the artistic spirit of a man who, as he celebrated nature and the world around him, also had to deal with prejudice against his homosexuality. As a youngster, he had fashioned a sculpture of Prometheus using concrete and broken pieces of his father’s beer bottles. Through the seven-decade career that followed, his materials have included fabric, earth, shells, bronze and epoxy. The film, by Will Parrinello, explores what drives him and fills him with joy. It airs 10 p.m. Monday on PBS .
– The numbers tell the story: In 1985, there were just 13 billionaires in the U.S.; today there are more than 1,000. If you are one of them, or among the hundreds of thousands of new multimillionaires, you won’t be worrying yourself about the recession. But most Americans feel shut out of what has been called “the new Gilded Age” and are hurting from the economic downturn. Even the merely rich ” the “middle-class millionaires” ” are suffering. A new CNBC documentary tells of the unprecedented explosion of personal wealth in the United States, as well as the plight of the rest of us, in “Untold Wealth: The Rise of the Super Rich.” Reported by David Faber, it premieres Thursday at 10 p.m.