Pledge Week Specials

PBS Shows aired this week by most PBS stations (check local listings) include Christmas With the Annie Moses Band, a concert of traditional carols by the six Wolaver children, ages 11-26; Andre Rieu Live in Dresden: Wedding at the Opera, in which violinist Rieu, the Johann Strauss Orchestra and Choir, and others perform “The Beautiful Blue Danube” and more classics in a “reception” for a just-married couple in the Semper Opera; and Andrea Bocelli and David Foster: My Christmas, a concert by tenor Bocelli, musician Foster, and others.

TUESDAY, 8 p.m.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

ABC In this animated special from 1965, Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic-strip characters try to produce their school’s Christmas program. When Linus recites Luke 2:8-14, they learn the beautiful and eternal truth that Christmas is about Jesus.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

CBS Singer-actor Burl Ives (1909-1995) narrated this 1964 animated special about a shy reindeer whom others mock and shun for his shiny nose. Rudolph ends up using that same facial feature to save the day for Santa Claus.


Great Performances at the Met: The Magic Flute

PBS This two-hour performance of Mozart’s opera features baritone Nathan Gunn, coloratura soprano Erika Miklosa and bass Rene Pape in this ancient Egypt-themed opera that Mozart composed in 1791. James Levine conducts and Julie Taymor directs, and poet J.D. McClatchy wrote the English libretto. A re-air from 2007.

THURSDAY, 11 p.m.

Ancient Discoveries:

Mega Fort

HISTORY This episode studies fortifications: a castle in ancient Britain, underground defenses in Cappadocia (in present-day central Turkey) and a Mayan castle. Experts replicate part of Julius Caesar’s fort at Alesia (in Gaul, or today’s France) and show how cannon bombardment overcame the defenses of Constantinople in 1453.

FRIDAY, 9 a.m.

Naked Science: The Rockies

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL Geologists theorize that the Rocky Mountains south of Montana were formed when, a thousand miles away, the Pacific Ocean tectonic plate began to slide under North America at a shallow angle that enabled it to push huge masses of granite far above the surface. A re-air. TV-G.

SATURDAY, 8 p.m.

EWTN Cinema: Little

Margaret of Castello

EWTN This 1996 film stars Lucia Puccia as Blessed Margaret of Castello (1287-1320), patroness against impoverishment and for the physically challenged, the rejected and right-to-life groups. Blessed Margaret, sightless, lame and with a hunchback and dwarfism, suffered abuse by her parents — 14 years of imprisonment, followed by abandonment — but became a lay Dominican beloved for her acts of charity.

Dan Engler writes from
Santa Barbara, California.