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Eclectic lineup on PBS

Projects include a seven-part series on the blues, produced by Martin Scorsese.

September 14, 2003|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

PBS programming is more than just pledge-drive concerts aimed at baby boomers, despite what it looks like sometimes. This fall alone, the public broadcasters are offering a remake of a Russian classic, the latest documentary from Ken Burns and an ambitious exploration of the blues.

Here's a look at what's in store for public broadcasting:


"American Family": Edward James Olmos headlines this ensemble drama about the Gonzalez family. PBS kicks off the last nine episodes of the first season during Hispanic Heritage Month, followed by selected episodes leading up to its second-season premiere next April 4. Sept. 28 at 7 p.m., KCET.

"The Blues": Martin Scorsese is the executive producer of this seven-part film series that over the course of a week looks at the essence of blues music and explores its global influence. The first film is directed by Scorsese, with offerings the following six nights from Wim Wenders, Richard Pearce, Charles Burnett, Marc Levin, Mike Figgis and Clint Eastwood. The series airs Sept. 28-Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. on KCET.

"ExxonMobil Masterpiece Thea- tre": The long-running dramatic anthology series kicks off its new season with "Warrior Queen," starring Alex Kingston of "ER," as the title character, who in the 1st century AD led Britons in nearly expelling Roman armies. It airs Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. on KCET; Hans Matheson attempts to fill the shoes of Omar Sharif in the lavish new production of Boris Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago," as the Russian poet-physician Yuri Zhivago; Keira Knightley of "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," plays Lara, the love of his life, and Sam Neill is Lara's seducer, Victor Komarovsky. Nov. 2 at 9 p.m., KCET.


"Wide Angle: Dying to Leave": This two-hour documentary explores the massive scope of the new boom in illegal migration by focusing on the stories of six migrants from various areas around the world and the circumstances that drove each individual from their homes. Sept. 25 at 9 p.m., KCET.

"Horatio's Drive: America's First Roadtrip": Ken Burns returns with this documentary about America's first cross-country automotive road trip, exactly 100 years ago. Horatio Nelson Jackson was a retired Vermont doctor living in San Francisco who was angered when he heard people bad-mouth the "horseless carriage" and wagered he could cross the country by car in just three months. Accompanied by his dog, Jackson drove across America in a 20-horsepower, open-seated Winton in 63 1/2 days. Tom Hanks is the voice of Nelson. Oct. 6 at 9 p.m., KCET.

"Lawrence of Arabia: The Battle for the Arab World": This story of the famed British soldier T.E. Lawrence was filmed in England and throughout the Middle East and includes archival footage and eyewitness accounts of Arabs, Westerners and Lawrence himself to chronicle his role in the unification of the Arab tribes against the Turks during World War I. Oct. 22 at 9 p.m., KCET.

"American Valor": A look at America's military heroes who have won the Medal of Honor. Their stories are told through newsreel footage, photographs, military art and interviews. Nov. 11 at 9 p.m., KCET.

"A Thief of Time, An American Mystery! Special": Tony Hillerman's Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee return in this adaptation of the bestseller about the disappearance of an archeologist turned pottery poacher who believes she has cracked the secret of the vanished Anasazi culture. Adam Beach, Wes Studi and Peter Fonda star. Nov. 16 at 9 p.m., KCET.

"On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize": A salute to Lily Tomlin, the recipient this year of the most prestigious prize for American humor. Nov. 26 at 9 p.m., KCET.

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