Monday, January 24, 2011

"Pioneers of Television" Returns for a Second Season

PIONEERS OF TELEVISION returns to PBS for a second season featuring all new stories of the visionaries who shaped a fledgling medium with their creativity, foresight and wisdom.

They were the stars of the small screen in the early years of television, and much of the nation came to a halt whenever their shows aired. They strolled, sprinted, fought, laughed, cried and loved through worlds that took viewers to places past, present and future. As the originators of these innovative television formats, they provided an essential escape for millions of viewers who eagerly waited to watch them each week.

This series once again transports viewers behind the scenes for a revealing look at the inception of four of the most popular genres in television: science fiction, Westerns, crime dramas and local kids' TV. The four new episodes, narrated by Kelsey Grammer, air Thursdays at 8 PM beginning January 27 on WSBE Rhode Island PBS (over the air on digital 36.1; on cable: Cox/Verizon/Full Channel 08, Comcast subscribers please check listings for local channel; on satellite: DirecTV 36, Dish Network 7776). Episodes will be re-broadcast on Saturdays at half after midnight (12:30 AM), beginning January 29.

* * * * * * *  UPDATE  January 27, 2011 * * * * * * *

Tonight's premiere episode takes a look back at Gene Roddenberry and "Star Trek," Rod Serling and "The Twilight Zone," and Irwin Allen and "Lost in Space." The show includes remarks from William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Nichelle Nichols from "Star Trek"; Bill Mumy, Angela Cartwright, and Marta Kristen from "Lost in Space."

Next week: TV Western pioneers, including Fess Parker (Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett), James Garner, Linda Evans, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Conrad and James Arness. 

February 10: Crime Dramas Pioneers including Jack Webb ("Dragnet"), Desi Arnaz ("The Untouchables"), Bruce Geller ("Mannix" and "Mission: Impossible"), Bill Cosby, Angie Dickinson, Barbara Bain, Martin Landau, James Garner and Stephen J. Cannell.

February 17: Local Kids TV shows will look back at "Romper Room," "Bozo the Clown," and "Sesame Street." 

An encore presentation of the first season's first episode about he early years of situation comedies (sitcoms) airs on February 24. Rediscover television comedy classics, as this episode focuses on five key sitcoms: "I Love Lucy," "The Honeymooners," "Make Room for Daddy," "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."