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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for my fellow Americans: Has the Public Broadcasting Service become irrelevant in American life?

Okay, maybe it was necessary when it first appeared way back in the 1960's, when television programming looked a lot different and there weren't a lot of other choices for people dissatisfied with what they were watching. The network's mission was to provide alternative programming to what was being aired on the Big Three (CBS, NBC and ABC) at that time. That meant kids' shows that weren't one long commercial for toys and sugary cereals, lots of fine arts programming (ballet, classical music, etc.) and so on.

But things are different now. A LOT different. We don't even need television sets anymore in order to be entertained.

Every time I think PBS has become completely irrelevant, they bring out a new Ken Burns documentary or I catch an episode of Nova that actually interests me. Usually when I'm channel surfing. But I also get the feeling that the people who run PBS still think it's 1976, before the internet and before VCRs and then DVD players and cable TV became fixtures in most peoples' homes. This is especially the case during pledge breaks, when they have people prattling on about how you can never see the program they've broken into to plead with people to call with their credit cards handy anywhere else.

In 1976, sure, but now you can.

This became especially annoying one time when I was watching the documentary movie The Celluloid Closet on the local PBS station. This is a film that originally aired on HBO in 1996. During the pledge break some bubbleheaded woman said, you guessed it, "isn't that a wonderful, informative movie? You'll never see this type of programming anywhere else."


For the record, I'd seen it at least a dozen times elsewhere on television before it showed up on PBS, and it's also available on DVD.

So, is PBS irrelevant these days?
 

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Not everyone has high-speed Internet, satellite TV, or any of that other fancy stuff. PBS is great for those people, and people who still enjoy getting their news in boring, informative, and educational flavors -- the way news is supposed to be consumed. Also, programming that is equally informative and educational, and entertaining.
 

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Impeach the gangster
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It's been 6-months since PBS aired a show I wanted to see.
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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I dont think so. I love Nova, and I catch almost every episode, especially the 'Nova Science Nows" with Neil Degrasse Tyson, because he's my astrophysicist crush, I watch antiques road show, almost every episode, I can't wait to see the new prohibition documentary. . .

It's relevant to me =/
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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I <3 him, I have all of his books and sincerely have thought about writing him to get him to come talk at my university. He's AMAZING.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe View Post

I very much want to see Ken Burns' documentary series on Prohibition, airing starting tonight.
I wish they would have picked a friday or saturday night to show it, 'cause maybe it would be fun to be totally drunk off your ass while watching it. I guess I'll have to watch it sober. I had an Uncle who made big bucks from "bathtub Gin" during prohibition. Bought himself a bowling alley and TV sales/repairshop with the money. Played card games with associates of Al Capone.

I sometimes watch antiques roadshow, this old house, ask this old house, American woodworker (or whatever it's called), History detectives, secrets of the dead, Christina cooks (once in a blue moon), Frontline, and probably a fair amount more that I can't remember right now.

One big problem, though, is that since the programs are more educational, you often learn about injustices toward Animals you might not have know before. Like the other night, I learned that in the preparation of the D-Day invasion, Pigeons were used for communication between the Allied forces and French resistance, and the Germans would shoot every Pigeon they saw flying, and even trained "birds of prey" to hunt the Pigeons.
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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I also love their masterpiece classics and masterpiece mysteries.
 

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One of the things pointed out in the Wikipedia article on PBS is that while PBS distributes much or most of the programming to its local PBS affiliate stations, these stations also obtain programming from many other sources.
And it is often these non-PBS programs that are shown during "pledge week" fundraising drives. This apparently is not made clear to the public, and the public is often effectively misled.

There is a detailed discussion of this problem here:

Caution: That Program May Not Be From PBS

By Michael Getler

http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/2008/05..._from_pbs.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
While I generally like Ken Burns' documentaries (although I do think his series on America's National Parks was twice as long as it had to be), my one major complaint is that PBS rolls out the new ones in October, when every other channel is showing new programming, and it's a bit overwhelming for me trying to keep up with everything on the air.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy SF View Post

..my one major complaint is that PBS rolls out the new ones in October, when every other channel is showing new programming, and it's a bit overwhelming for me trying to keep up with everything on the air.
Well, Law and Order SVU sucks way too bad now with that hot-headed guy gone, so take that one out of the competition.
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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Originally Posted by Empty_Shell View Post

Well, Law and Order SVU sucks way too bad now with that hot-headed guy gone, so take that one out of the competition.
+1
 

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IS PBS here in the U.S. irrelevant? I think the answer is both yes and no.

For me, that is the answer anyway. Yes, PBS is still about the only truly educational channel left here on basic cable as discovery and history have both either gone the way of reality TV insanity, or have just outright gone insane with crackpot shows about conspiracies and such.

That said, No PBS is also getting less and less of my viewing time as time goes on because it's getting harder and harder for me to find shows I will watch. I haven't seen "New Yankee Workshop" on in an eternity, and used to enjoy it something fierce. "Frontline" while usually gripping is sometimes difficult for me to catch. "Nova" hasn't had anything on it that I've been able to catch in over a year, and what I have has been excruciatingly dull.

No, the last thing I caught on PBS was a documentary called "The Buddha" and actually enjoyed it so much that rather than trying to divine when next it would be on, I ended up just buying it on DVD, and saved myself the hassle.

So, as such, I consider PBS to be a mixed blessing. It also depends on your tastes and the general preferences of the local station which broadcasts as to whether you would deem it "irrelevant".
 

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to me its important.....I watch alot of shows on the British Royal Family on there....

peace
 

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I am going to start a thread on Ken Burns' documentary "Prohibition," which I think was wonderful. I was tempted to discuss it in this thread, but I doin't think that would be fair to the intent of the OP.
 

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I think their nature shows are usually fantastic, and some of their history specials are good as well. They still appeal to some demographics, so I wouldn't say it's irrelevent.
 

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Austin City Limits, Artist Den, depending who's on it. Often Bands I've never heard of before, like Flogging Molly last night.
 
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