Occasionally, it seems, TV veers away from its summer silliness.
You just have to know where to look … which is mostly PBS.
The network has just announced three “Frontline” films, plus six on “POV.” Those documentaries span the globe – Palestine, Peru and Puerto Rico, plus India, Afghanistan and the U.S, – and cover serious issues, from toppling statues (shown here) to propping up the economy.
That comes during a season that leans to the light side – games on ABC, cooks and cartoons on Fox, sexy singles on CBS. By comparison, PBS has its serious moments, including scripted mysteries on Sundays, science and nature on Wednesdays and these series.
Most stations have “POV” at 10 p.m. Mondays and “Frontline” at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. The details:
“POV” is short for point-of-view and lets individual filmmakers take strong steps. The line-up:
– July 5: “The Neutral Ground” began with New Orleans’ decision to remove four Confederate statues. When that was halted by death threats, the film began surveying the eternal hold of the Civil War.
– July 12: “Landfall” views Puerto Rico as a world transformed by Hurricane Maria.
– July 19: “Stateless” follows Dominicans of Haitian descent who are stripped of their citizenship.
– July 26:”Mayor” focuses on the major of Ramallah, the de facto capital of Palestine.
– Aug. 2: “Pier Kids” goes to the Christopher Street Pier in New York, which has become a gathering place for gay and trans youth of color.
– Aug. 30: “The Song of the Butterflies” follows a Peruvian artist as he returns to the Amazonian land of his ancestors.
– Also: In addition to the summer line-up, “POV” plans films for Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1 and Dec. 27, plus one more in the spring.
“Frontline” was around for the regular season, but plans three films for this summer:
– July 13: “The Power of the Fed” views the Federal Reserve’s role in averting economic disaster during the pandemic. It also looks at the continued effect of pumping billions into the economy.
– July 20: “Leaving Afghanistan” views the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal and visits a militant wing of the Taliban. Also in that hour will be a look at politics and rape in India.
– Aug. 10: “In the Shadow of 9/11” traces how seven men were indicted for an alleged al-Qaeda plot, even though, “Frontline” says, none had weapons or connections to al-Qaeda.