Sleeper Picks for June 2019
From summer travel shows, to tragic documentaries, to foreign thrillers, this summer is packed with shows you’ll want to see. Here’s what our Chief Programming Director Jim Wiener will be watching…
Escape to the Chateau
Mondays, June 10 – August 26, at 10pm on ThinkTV16
Dick Stawbridge and his partner Angel live in a cramped two bedroom flat on the UK’s east coast. There’s nothing cozy about their new digs – a 45-room chateau in northern France. But to call this a “fixer-upper” would be the Understatement of the Year. No electricity, no water, and plumbing that was perhaps up to code during the War-- the first one. Have Mr. Fixit and Ms. Style met their match? (This show will be pre-empted the week of July 9 for Chasing the Moon and on August 19 for the August Membership Drive.)
Lively One: Dick Brannan’s Ride to Drag Racing Fame
Tuesday, June 11, at 11:30pm on ThinkTV16
It’s not unusual to find a documentary on public television narrated by Peter Coyote. But you never thought you’d hear Peter Coyote narrate a bio on a racing legend. Dick Brannan won more than 200 drag racing events and made Ford a serious player in the 1960’s when the sport really took off. His vehicle of choice was the “Thunderbolt,” a Ford Fairlane with 427 cubic inches under the hood… or rather most of it was under the hood. Steve McQueen in Bullitt may have sent sales of the Ford Mustang GT through the roof, but that car may not have existed without Brannan’s forerunner three years earlier, the Bronco A/FX Mustang.
Islands without Cars
Thursdays, June 13 – September 5, on ThinkTV14
Thursdays, June 25 – September 12, on ThinkTV16
The perfect summer travel series takes us to small, remote islands in Europe that not only lack cars, buses or trains, but also (crossing fingers) golf carts! Kira Hesser hosts and we go to Hydra (Greece), Sark (in the English Channel), Inis Meain (Ireland) and Porquerroles (France). A donkey cart or bicycle will likely be it beyond hoofin’ it.
Grenfell: First 24 Hours
Friday, June 14, at 10pm on ThinkTV16
This airs on the second anniversary of the tragic high-rise fire in London that killed 72 and injured 70 more. Some 250 London firefighters responded to help rescue more than 220 residents. The first 24 hours features plenty of mobile phone video of the fire that started around 1am and raced up several floors thanks to building materials that seemed less fire resistant and more downright flammable. But especially gripping are the interviews with residents trying to warn their neighbors, and banding together to save each other.
Saturdays, June 15 – September 14, at 10pm on CET
From the folks that brought us Modus comes another mystery mini-series, this one from Belgium.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the police must rely on a professor/criminologist to help solve murders. Professor T. (no relation to Mister T, but then you probably figured that) is an eccentric, and that has the authorities gritting their teeth. But what can they do when his hunches pan out? Like Modus, this is a bit moody and muted, though not as violent. You’d think life in Europe had 30 percent of its chroma removed as part of an effort to combat global warming. For those who enjoy contemporary mysteries… no Hercule Poirot here.
POV: Roll Red Roll
Monday, June 17, at 10pm on CET
Thursday, June 20, at 10pm on ThinkTV16
You’ve heard the story before: high school kids hold a party that involves plenty of alcohol. A girl ends up sexually assaulted, and the finger is pointed at the jocks. This particular story centers in Steubenville, Ohio. Here, they take their football very seriously, so when the case was pursued by authorities, bystanders, parents, coaches and teachers colluded to protect their gridiron heroes and to point fingers at the victim. And you’ve probably heard that angle before as well, but what crime blogger Alex Goddard discovered was that social media became the primary weapon for teenagers to bully and intimidate, and adults to stand idly by.
Tuesday, June 18, at 9pm on CET and ThinkTV16
As Senator Joe McCarthy went after supposed Communists in the State Department, there was a lesser known push to go after federal workers who were homosexual. So the Red Scare became a Lavender Scare when President Dwight Eisenhower signed an Executive Order in 1953 that barred gays and lesbians from working in the federal government. So not only were hundreds outed and shown the door in the State Department, but also some 5,000 gays lost their federal jobs. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that these laws were overruled and later overturned. We’ve aired The Committee, which focused on a similar effort by the Florida legislature to out and fire state workers – now Lavender Scare shows the nationwide campaign.
Fridays, June 21 – August 9, at 10pm on ThinkTV16
This contemporary mystery series comes from Sweden. Inger Vik is a psychologist and profiler on the hunt for a serial killer. She’s also a single mother with an autistic daughter. This has that moody look and feel that invariably draws comparisons to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise. It’s also more violent than our typical mysteries, so be forewarned.
Wednesday, June 26, at 10pm on CET
Wednesday, June 26, at 11:30pm on ThinkTV16
Tuesday, July 16, at 10pm on ThinkTV14
From Cincinnati filmmaker Brian Leitten comes this look at UC Engineering students involved in Elon Musk’s SpaceX-Hyperloop competition. Hundreds of universities worldwide took part in the research and development of this “fifth mode” of transportation. It looks like a futuristic rail car, but magnetically levitates, travels through a tube, and can achieve speeds upwards of 700+mph (imagine L.A. to San Francisco in 40 minutes or Boston to Washington DC in under an hour). University of Cincinnati’s diverse group of engineers were selected to be among the 30 finalists for the first competition, but technical problems scuttled their efforts (won by Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands). Since then, UC has merged with engineers from Purdue and the University of Illinois for the second phase of the competition, to be held in late July.