MPTV Premieres & Highlights: October 2009

National Parks: America's Best Idea

Great Nature (1933-1945)

October 1st / 7:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

To battle unemployment in the Great Depression, FDR creates the Civilian Conservation Corps, which spawns a "golden age" for the parks through major renovation projects. A groundbreaking study discovers widespread abuses of animal habitats and pushes for wildlife policies reform. Congress narrowly passes a bill to protect the Everglades in Florida as a national park -- the first time a park has been created solely to preserve an ecosystem, as opposed to scenic beauty. As America becomes entrenched in World War II, Roosevelt is pressured to open the parks to mining, grazing and lumbering. The president also is subjected to a storm of criticism for expanding the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming by accepting a gift of land secretly purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. (5 of 6) Repeats tonight 9:00 pm 10.1

National Parks: America's Best Idea

Morning of Creation (1946-1980)

October 2nd / 7:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

Following World War II, the parks are overwhelmed as visitation reaches 62 million people a year. A new billion-dollar campaign -- Mission 66 -- is created to build facilities and infrastructure that can accommodate the flood of visitors. A biologist named Alfred Murie introduces the revolutionary notion that predatory animals, which are still hunted, deserve the same protection as other wildlife. In Florida, Lancelot Jones, the grandson of a slave, refuses to sell to developers his family's property on a string of unspoiled islands in Biscayne Bay and instead sells it to the federal government to be protected as a national monument. In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter creates an uproar in Alaska when he sets aside 56 million acres of land for preservation -- the largest expansion of protected land in history. In 1995, wolves are re-established in Yellowstone, making the world's first national park a little more like what it once was. (6 of 6) Repeats tonight 9:00 pm 10.1

Gearing Up

October 4th / 10:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

Four diverse teams of high school students are followed over 45 days as they use science, technology, engineering, and math to design and construct robots from identical kits then compete in a regional competition. (57 min)

Masterpiece Mystery!

Inspector Lewis, Series II: Allegory of Love

October 4th / 8:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

A Czech barmaid is murdered, and the scene of the crime yields two puzzling clues: a bloodstained note and a broken antique mirror. Lewis and Hathaway must uncover the hidden connections between the victim and a prominent Oxford professor. Also airs Oct. 7 at 10 pm. Series continues on Sundays and Wednesdays. (87 min)

Inventing LA: The Chandlers & Their Times

October 5th / 8:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

Liev Schreiber narrates the epic saga of the most powerful family in Los Angeles history: the Chandlers. For four generations, they wielded unique influence through their newspaper, the Los Angeles Times. In their pursuit of personal agendas and civic ideals, they built the city of the future and exposed the dark side of the American Dream. (117 min)

American Future: A History with Simon Schama

American Plenty

October 6th / 10:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

Simon Schama explores how American optimism about the infinite possibilities of its land and resources is in danger of coming to a grinding halt; particularly in the West, where lack of water threatens America's future. (1 of 4) (52 min)


Darwin's Darkest Hour

October 6th / 7:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

This moving drama captures the anguish Charles Darwin faced in going public with his theory of evolution. Darwin, portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), spent years refining his ideas. In conflict with religious values of his day, he resisted publishing--until he learned naturalist Alfred Wallace was on the brink of publishing similar ideas. To delay publishing would condemn all of his work to obscurity. But to come forward with his ideas risked the fury of the Church and perhaps a rift with his own devoted wife, Emma, portrayed by Frances O'Connor. (117 min)

The Buffalo Flows

October 6th / 9:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

Arkansas' Buffalo River, born in the Ozark Mountains, is one of the nation's remaining free-flowing rivers. Conservation groups are followed as they attempt to prevent damming. (57 min)

Art in the Twenty-First Century


October 7th / 11:30 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

Artists whose works or personal stories transport viewers to imaginary worlds and altered states of consciousness are profiled. With works that seem at times hallucinatory, irreverent and sublime, each of these artists pursues a vision first held in the mind's eye. Featured artists include: Jeff Koons, Mary Heilmann, Florian Maier-Aichen, and Cao Fei. Series continues Wednesdays at 9:00 pm. (1 of 4) (57 min)

In Service to Milwaukee

Town Hall Special

October 7th / 7:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

Host Mark Siegrist and members of Milwaukee's non-profit and faith communities engage in thoughtful discussion on the opportunities, need, and impact, of volunteerism in Greater Milwaukee. Taped at the Hillside Terrace Resource Center, Aug. 2009.
(57 min)

Lowe Family Television Special

October 9th / 8:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

The internationally acclaimed, multi-talented Lowe Family performs show-stopping classical, Broadway and Irish tunes; spectacular dances, lush harmonies, a stirring patriotic tribute, old-time favorites, and more. Also airs October 10 at 8:30 pm. (58 min)

Movie: 42nd Street (1933)

October 10th / 7:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

When the leading lady of a Broadway musical breaks her ankle, she is replaced by a young unknown actress, who becomes the star of the show. Starring Bebe Daniels, Dick Powell, George Brent, Ruby Keeler, Warner Baxter. (Nominated for an Academy Award) (90 min)

Influenza 1918: American Experience

October 11th / 8:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

The influenza epidemic of 1918 is examined. It killed 600,000 people--more than all the wars of the 20th century combined before disappearing as mysteriously as it began. (57 min)

Latin Music USA

Bridges/The Salsa Revolution

October 12th / 8:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

The first hour traces the rise of Latin jazz and the explosion of the mambo and the cha-cha as they swept the U.S. from East to West and looks at how Latin music infiltrated rhythm and blues and rock `n' roll through the 1960s. The second hour explores how Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in New York reinvented the son cubano and the plena from Puerto Rico by adding elements from soul and jazz to create salsa -- which became a defining rhythm for Latinos the world over. Jimmy Smits narrates. Continues October 19 at 8 pm.
(1 & 2 of 4) (117 min)


Obama's War

October 13th / 8:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

FRONTLINE examines U.S. counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- a fight that promises to be longer and more costly than most Americans understand -- through interviews with top commanders on the ground, embeds with U.S. forces and fresh reporting from Washington. (57 min)

The Queen Family

October 14th / 8:30 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

Southern Appalachian music and tradition are represented by this iconic mountain family. Matriarch Mary Jane Queen, along with her children and grandchildren, perform original and traditional folk music, and discuss their family traditions and life in the far reaches of the Southern Highlands. (27 min)

Fifteen Legs

October 24th / 9:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

Animal rights activists are followed, as they create a network around the country of no-kill animal shelters, placing sheltered animals into new homes. Walker, a 10-month-old puppy, is followed on a journey from an animal control center to a new home, made possible by several volunteer animal transporters. (27 min)

Masterpiece Contemporary


October 25th / 8:00 / MPTV 10.1 HD

A nation teeters on the brink of civil war in this real-life political thriller about the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Seemingly doomed to failure, the secret talks were held against a backdrop of terrorism, spying, blackmail, and escalating unrest. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, William Hurt, Derek Jacobi, and Clarke Peters. (117 min)

Herbert Hoover: Landslide

October 26th / 9:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

The facts and fictions behind the presidency of Herbert Hoover are explored, including The Great Depression; the role of the Federal Reserve; Hoover's early life abroad; the international experiences that led to his decision to run for office, and his political philosophy and policies. Scholars David Kennedy, Amity Shlaes, Robert Reich, Tim Egan and Timothy Walch, and others are interviewed. (57 min)

The Botany of Desire

October 28th / 7:00 pm / MPTV 10.1 HD

The natural history of four plants are explored, the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato, examining how they evolved to satisfy our yearnings for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control. Based on Michael Pollan's book of the same name. (117 min)

Secret Life of Ghosts and Werewolves

October 30th / 8:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

Werewolves, ghosts, wizards, and zombies have captured the public's imaginations for centuries. This television compendium of the weird and creepy goes in search of the facts and science behind tales of sorcery, mythical creatures, lunar madness, and things that go bump in the night. (49 min)

Ghosts on the Underground

October 30th / 9:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

An unconventional journey is taken through the oldest public transport system in the world, seen from a chillingly unfamiliar perspective. One billion people a year, from all over the world, descend deep below London into the tunnels and stations of the underground, without a second thought for the huge number of graves, church crypts and plague pits that tube construction has disrupted over the years, nor about accidental deaths that have occurred on the network. (48 min)

Movie: Call Northside 777 (1948)

October 31st / 7:00 pm / MPTV 36.1

A Chicago newsman (James Stewart) digs up the story of a scrubwoman's son (Richard Conte) framed for murder. (111 min)