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TV highlights Jan. 19-25 

NATURE: THE BEARS OF CHURCHILL
5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3,
Broadcast Ch. 2)


While we know they look cute and fluffy on those Coca-Cola commercials you see at Christmastime, the truth is, to a polar bear you’re the equivalent of a New York strip with a side salad and baked potato. Fluffy, yes. Cute, yes. Also the largest land carnivore on the planet, with some hoary old males weighing more than 1,700 pounds and topping 8 feet tall on their hind legs. Not something you’d necessarily want to saunter up to and hand a Coke. Here, the brave camerafolk with the PBS show “Nature” follow actor Ewan McGregor to the tiny hamlet of Churchill in northern Canada, to get up close and personal with these massive beasts of the great white north. Added bonus: You might get to see a giant bear eat Obi Wan’s liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti (come to think of it, that’s why we’re going to be tuning in).


A CULTIVATED LIFE:
JEFFERSON AND WINE
1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3,
Broadcast Ch. 2)


nn between helping start the country, landing his face on the sawbuck, and chasing Sally Hemings around the desk, Founding Father and certified genius Thomas Jefferson had some other pursuits. Namely: wine. A great lover of the vino, Jefferson was one of the first to suggest that the great vineyards and winemaking culture of France and Italy might be transported to American shores. To that end, he experimented — with some success — with imported Italian rootstock at his Virginia home, Monticello, eventually bottling his own wine and introducing America to the idea of viniculture. Now, if he could have just discovered a way to get it out of the carpet. Tune in, and see why every time you down a glass of Napa Valley chablis, you owe old Tom more than a toast.


EXPLORING ARKANSAS
WITH CHUCK DOVISH
Mondays at 6:30 p.m.
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3,
Broadcast Ch. 2)

I have a confession to make. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being Chuck Dovish. It seemed like the dream gig: driving around in a paid-for truck, talking to old codgers about making violins, spelunking in caves, and generally poking around in places where you normally might earn a rear-end full of rock salt for your trouble. All that, and a paycheck to boot? Sign me up. These days, Chuck is still doing his “Travelin’ Arkansas” bit, though under a slightly different name and on the taxpayer dole for AETN. With a more adventuresome edge than his old show (the new show features the 50-something Dovish white-water rafting, rock climbing and the like) his “Exploring Arkansas” is still as much fun as “Travelin’” and — at 30 minutes a show — about 10 times as long. That adds up to one good time in the Natural State, courtesy of Chuck.

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