Whenever director Robert Trachtenberg tells people he's made a film about Bing Crosby, he says, "The overwhelming response is, 'He's the guy who hit his kids.'" The actor-crooner's Daddy Dearest image was shaped by the 1983 tell-all memoir from son Gary. But Trachtenberg believes Bing Crosby: Rediscovered, his latest project for American Masters (Tuesday at 8/7c on PBS), will remind viewers that despite his flaws, Crosby is one of the 20th century's most influential pop culture figures.
Does S.H.I.E.L.D. know about this? No case is too big or fantastical for the pint-size investigators on Odd Squad, an ambitious new live-action PBS Kids series that trails secret agents Olive (Dalila Bela) and Otto (Filip Geljo) as they try to solve a head-scratching array of problems in their goofy hometown. Whether it's runaway dinosaurs or citizens suddenly vanishing into thin air or a basketball team that's been hit with a string of bad luck, Olive and Otto always save the day. But get this: They do it by using various forms of mathematics. Consider it damage control.
He scared the bejeesus out of Americans with his nuclear-war cry, "We will bury you!" But when Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev visited the United States in 1959 he was much more of a pussycat than an evil Commie dictator.
PBS's American Experience will track Khrushchev's bizarre trek in Cold War Roadshow (Tuesday, Nov. 18, 9/8c), a one-hour documentary that offers fascinating insight into the human side of our chilling face-off with the U.S.S.R.
Allen Leech, Tom Cullen and Michelle Dockery
Someone give PBS a hug.
The network is in danger of losing its biggest show, British import Downton Abbey, sooner than it would like if rumors out of the UK are true. The show's creator Julian Fellowes might leave his series following the yet-to-be-announced sixth season, The Radio Times reports.
Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith
Last year, Downton Abbey went through a transitional season dealing with major loss but also laying the groundwork for what could be a very intriguing fifth season.
Before the series returns stateside on Sunday, Jan. 4 on PBS' Masterpiece, the cast -- Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech along with executive producer Gareth Neame -- attended the Television Critics Association fall previews on Tuesday to present select clips from the upcoming season. Here's what we can expect:
Dust off your fancypants, Downton Abbey fans. The British series' fifth season has a Stateside premiere date...
Michelle Dockery, Julian Ovenden
[WARNING: The following contains spoilers from the Season 4 finale of Downton Abbey. Read at your own risk.]
We are grateful to have Downton Abbey in our lives, but our devotion to the show is the very reason we're so irked at how it progressed this season.
Although we've come to terms with the loss of Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), it doesn't seem like the writers quite know what to do in the wake of those deaths. So much of this season felt either forced or false or just failed miserably. Has Downton Abbey lost its charm?
Before launching into the season as a whole, let's go over the highlights of the finale, shall we?
I tried to give Downton Abbey the benefit of the doubt. I tried to stave off my judgments until I had given the show time to prove me wrong, to prove that this wasn't just another case of rape as cheap and consumable entertainment. But here we are at the end of the season, and my frustration has only grown.
Downton's fourth season notoriously featured the show's most beloved character, Anna (Joanne Froggatt), being violently assaulted by a visiting valet. But contrary to creator Julian Fellowes' defense that he wanted to "[explore] the mental damage and the emotional damage" that follows sexual assault, I still have very little idea how Anna has been intimately affected by this tragic incident. Instead of parsing Anna's psychological state, the show continued its violation of her character by immediately shifting the dramatic tension to questions about how Bates (Brendan Coyle) would respond.
"Sometimes, I don't think God wants me to be happy." Poor Lady Edith. On Sunday's Downton Abbey, the second Crawley daughter is still dealing with the dilemma of becoming an unwed mother in 1920s polite society. On top of that ...