Jim’s Sleeper Picks for February 2023

Jim’s Sleeper Picks for February 2023

Our Chief Programming Officer, Jim Wiener, has the pulse on what’s airing on our stations each month. While lots of people are watching All Creatures Great and Small or Antiques Roadshow, there are some great programs that might fly under your radar. Here’s what Jim will be watching and what he has to say:

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael
Saturday, February 4, at 9pm on ThinkTV16.1

I always combed through copies of my parents NEW YORKER magazines for the cartoons and then the movie reviews from Pauline Kael. Roger Ebert called her the most influential film critic of the late 20th century. She infuriated many (Aunt Mary would ask in exasperation “Is there any movie she actually likes?!”), but Kael was a departure from so many critics who acted more as shills for the movie industry (the on-going joke: “if there is only one action movie you should see this year involving a blind Kung Fu master, this is it!”). This show has a ton of great film clips, many from the ‘70s – the decade when the studio system faded and directors were able to get pretty adventurous.

Lines Broken: The Story of Marion Motley
Sunday, February 5, at 1pm on CET 48.1

Black College Football Hall of Fame: Journey to Canton
Sunday, February 5, at 1:30pm on CET 48.1

Through the Banks of The Red Cedar
Sunday, February 5, at 2pm on CET 48.1

On the Sunday between the NFL’s conference title games and the Super Bowl, where can football fans get their game fix? If you said the Pro Bowl at 3pm, that’s hardly what anyone calls an actual “game” anymore.

At 1pm, it’s a profile of Marion Motley. Along with Len Ford and Bill Willis, Motley was signed by then Cleveland Browns head coach Paul Brown as players who integrated pro football… in the All-American Conference and later the NFL. Motley was a monster running back, as big as most lineman, but with agility and surprising speed. He was a prototype for later backs such as Christian Okoye, Craig “Iron Head” Heyward, Jerome Bettis and the Bengals Pete Johnson.

At 1:30pm, the Black College Football Hall of Fame opened in 2019 on the campus of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Black College Football Hall of Fame: Journey to Canton tells the story of the formation of Black college football and the contributions that players from historically Black colleges and universities have made to the NFL.

At 2pm, Through the Banks of The Red Cedar marks 60 years since Michigan State Head Coach Duffy Daughterty fully integrated his team and changed the game forever. One of his star players, Gene Washington, went on to have a successful career in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. His daughter, Maya, wrote and directed this documentary.

Redlining: Mapping Inequality – Dayton And Springfield
Sunday, February 5, at 3pm on ThinkTV16.1
Friday, February 17, at 9pm on CET 48.1

This is the story of how the federal government, in the 1930s, worked with local realtors and banks to map out communities and neighborhoods that were considered good or bad credit risks. But the maps, housed in the National Archives to this day, were really used to identify neighborhoods of color and automatically deem them as marginal credit risks. So many homeowners had difficulty getting home improvement loans and saw their homes NOT appreciate in value over the years like those in white neighborhoods.

This documentary premiered in February of last year and has since been picked up by more than a hundred public television stations nationwide. What do they care about Dayton and Springfield? The issue is the thing. Many communities can identify with the discriminatory housing practices and offer up the names of their local neighborhoods as examples.

Hundreds of these maps were created for towns of any appreciable size nationwide. Interestingly, Cincinnati didn’t have a comparable map in the National Archives. So the implication is that the Queen City did not take part in discriminatory housing practices or realtors and banks simply didn’t need a map to remind them which neighborhoods were good or bad credit risks.

Independent Lens: Outta the Muck
Monday, February 6, at 10pm on CET 48.1
Thursday, February 9, at 10pm on ThinkTV16.1

There are certain areas that have produced an exceptional number of professional athletes.

NYC playgrounds were known for supplying the NBA with basketball players through the 1960s. San Pedro De Macors in the Dominican Republic, a city of just under 200,000, has produced more than a hundred MLB players and is also known as the “Cradle of Shortstops.”

This Independent Lens film focuses on Pahokee, Florida, a town of just more than 5,000 on the banks of Lake Okeechobee. It has sent over a dozen players to the NFL, including stars like Anquan Boldin, Rickey Jackson and Fred Taylor.

If California, Texas, Ohio and Florida supply an inordinate number of successful football players, Pahokee is the cream that rises to the top. Part of the motivation may be that the town is small with high rates for poverty and crime. But it’s also a fiercely resilient community that has faced tragic storms and personal trauma.

Impossible Builds
Wednesdays, February 8 through March 8, at 11pm on ThinkTV16.1

Older PBS productions on architectural marvels are always popular. Episodes of this show include the Scorpion Tower, a Miami high-rise with glass fiber reinforced concrete, six sand islands in the Persian Gulf turned into a luxurious holiday destination, a floating house with rooms below the water line, the Chinese transformation of a sub-tropical quarry into a sub-zero ski resort, and an 82-story skyscraper on the construction equivalent of a postage stamp.

American Masters: How It Feels to Be Free
Saturday, February 11, at 10pm on ThinkTV16.1

The trailblazing careers of African American entertainers Diahann Carroll, Pam Grier, Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone and Cicely Tyson. Virtually all of them were included in Elvis Mitchell’s recent documentary IS THAT BLACK ENOUGH FOR YOU?!? But Mitchell’s work focused more on late 60’s-early 70’s movies including the Blaxploitation genre. This American Masters profile strictly targeted these entertainers who changed American culture through their films, movies and politics.

Elmore Leonard: But Don’t Try to Write
Saturday, February 11, at 9pm on CET 48.1

Explore the career of Leonard’s body of work and writing process. For a guy who looked like a funeral home director, Leonard slammed out plenty of novels on hard men on the dark side of life. He was a prolific writer whose works, like Stephen King’s, translated well into movies. He started with pulp westerns before wandering into the pulp crime genre (and King himself compared Leonard to the likes of Dshiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler).

Among his adapted works were 3:10 To Yuma, Joe Kidd on the western side, and Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown and Justified. Leonard fans could watch an adaptation and light up when they heard a particularly good line, knowing that came straight out his books. Enjoy this satisfying bio on one of America’s great and very accessible writers.

Double Dummy
Sunday, February 12, at 3pm on CET 48.1
Saturday, February 18, at 10pm on ThinkTV14.1
Thursday, February 23, at 11pm on ThinkTV16.1

This is not your grandparent’s bridge with 4 couples playing across from one another in the hosts’ rec room dishes of Brach’s Party Mix dotting each folding card table. Over the years, bridge players have seen their ranks depleted by age, but now they’re witness to the arrival of Gen Z. This follows the USA Under 21 team as they battle it out at the World Youth Team Championships. And in between competitions, we see them mix and mingle with fellow bridge players old enough to be… well, their grandparents.

Adrian Dubar’s Coastal Ireland
Wednesdays, February 15 and 22, at 9pm on ThinkTV14.1
Friday, February 17, at 9pm on CET 48.1

Dunbar is an Irish actor/singer/director (Line of Duty, The Jump, Ashes to Ashes) who serves as our guide to the Ireland the tourists can’t get in Dublin. He visits the Mizen Bridge, suspended 147 feet above the water, and then makes the treacherous sea crossing to the Skllig Islands. Here the ruins of an ancient monastic settlement are perched 600 feet above the sea. Dunbar also learns about Malin Head, the northernmost tip of mainland Ireland, and the site of the first-ever commercial message sent by Marconi to a ship via wireless in 1902.

Living with Landslides
Saturday, February 18, at 7pm on CET 48.1

Laure Quinlivan is an Emmy-winning producer who dabbles in public relations with a side of independent documentaries. This one is the lament of Cincinnati homeowners, people who wanted a home with a view and were willing to pay for it. Everything was good for 5 to 10 years… until one day their backyard overlooking the Ohio River went from 30-feet to 10-feet deep. And of course the cost to stem the tide is prohibitively expensive.

That expense is not only far beyond the average homeowner, but it also becomes a major headache for municipal and county governments. With footage of landslides setting the stage, we see how workers clean up, then get down to shoring up a 40-foot rock face. Columbia Parkway between Alms Park and Mt. Adams has become some of the most expensive highway in the country just for the cost of keeping dirt and boulders from becoming road hazards.

Making Black America: Through the Grapevine
Sunday, February 19, from 1pm to 5pm on ThinkTV16.1

Odessa’s Reign
Sunday, February 19, at 5pm on ThinkTV 16.1

Henry Louis Gates hosts this repeat of the four-part series about the Black community in late 19th and early 20th century America who responded to segregation by creating their own institutions. They built towns, business districts, established schools, professional boards — even today’s Black Twitter.

In a way, the following historical documentary followed suit. Even when crime was segregated, criminals used their own initiative to achieve success. Odessa Madre was a numbers runner and a key player in a gambling ring in Washington, DC. In the 1950s. She had standing within the mob, power in her neighborhood and control over the men charged with enforcing the law… all this while being an African American woman in our nation’s capital, known in song as a “bourgeois town.”