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.
WEDNESDAY, 8 p.m.
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.
WEDNESDAY, 9 p.m.
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.
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.
Engler writes from
Santa Barbara, California.