Reasons Public Television is Ballin’

When was the last time you watched Public Television?  PBS is home to a lot more really great television than most people realize.  It’s not the biggest network, and it certainly has it’s oddities.  Things like some one trying to convince me that Merlin built Stonehenge using the power of sound.  Umm, what?

But there’s a lot of gems in there too.  Awesome nature programs, kids shows that tend to have new meaning as after years away, and…  I’m giving away all my reasons.  I have them numbered and everything.  Okay, ok, so public television is awesome and I’m going to tell you why.

  1. Variety.  As I was beginning to say before, nearly every genre imaginable can be found on public television at some point in the day.  Kids shows, talks shows, drama, reality, comedy, musical, cooking, you name it.  If they don’t have it specifically, they’ll probably run a documentary of it sometime.
  2. Groudbreaking.  Delving into some TV history here, PBS was the first station to air political satire in the 1970’s, a particular risk because it is partially government funded.  These days cable channels produce shows like the Daily Show and The Colbert Report in a similar fashion.
  3. Downton Abbey.  Because Downton needs it’s own reason.  Not to mention the many, many foreign imports that find a home for their US debut on PBS.  Things like Keeping Up Appearances, Inspector Lewis, and Sherlock.  Some more famous than others, but all impactful in their own way.  Related: Julian Fellows on Improvisation.  Just watch it.
  4. Learn Something.  Always even if you don’t want to.  Besides teaching 6-year-olds math (CyberChase anyone?), public television has been on the forefront of educational television.  Home improvements and cooking lessons need look no further than your local PBS station.  Not that I will ever have a need to make perfect strawberry poke cake, but at least now I can insult it using the right terminology.
  5. It’s free!  I mean, honestly.  So maybe Antiques Roadshow isn’t your jam.  It’s not really mine either, but how many times have you been to an event solely on the promise of free food?  I’ll guess at least a few times, if not lots.  So why not watch some strange television program you’ve never heard of before?

So, you know.  Watch public television.  You have my permission to fast forward through the pledge drives, at least for now.  This is fairly United States focused, so sorry if any of you Brits stumbled upon this today.  Don’t even get me started on the British television system… Actually, do, I would love to have that chat.

Do you watch PBS or any other form of public television?  What are your favorite shows?  Anything to add to the list?

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