Last week we were casting about, as usual, for something interesting to watch in the 100-200 channel range of our cable system. The local PBS stations were hip-deep in pledge drives, which meant 20-minute breaks between segments of shows that would otherwise have been enjoyable but which we’d mostly seen anyway by this point. (Did anyone else think it just a tad disconcerting that WLIW, the Long Island-based PBS station, could afford to send its two high muckety-mucks out to broadcast from Innsbruck during the pledge breaks for Visions of Austria, but made sure to keep reminding us that Viewers Like You made all that possible? Oh great, I should give to their station to sponsor their executives’ vacations?)
The few writers’ strike-delayed shows that we usually watch on the networks haven’t begun running new episodes, and in their place were the same tired crop of cringeworthy reality shows. Keith Olbermann and MSNBC are turning into FOX-lite (but that’s another column). And how many times can I watch the Ghana episode of Tony Bourdain’s No Reservations? (Not including subconscious reruns during REM sleep, approximately ten, but not consecutively; give me a break, Travel Channel!)
So it was that we found our way up the dial to a delightful programme all about amber hosted by "Dickie-Love’s" brother David Attenborough — and now little impressionable ol’ me suddenly wants some new amber earrings — which we then followed up with a Biography Channel episode on The Beatles’ Wives, which itself preceded two recent Paul McCartney concerts, one from 2005 and the other from 2007, on that same channel, both horribly chopped from the originals. And suddenly there I was, fascinated all over again.