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June 28, 2018

Leandro’s Don’t Miss List: July 2018

WNET’s very own Leandro Mejia, a self-proclaimed public media superfan, writes a monthly column of his must-see recommendations on THIRTEEN. Check out his suggestions for new and encore programs you won’t want to miss. And if you want to expand your vocabulary, click on the hyperlinked words for a definition.


This July, don’t let triskaidekaphobia get the better of you and tune in to our summertime station sensations!

As the world awaits four more years to be febrile with FIFA, PBS’s gooooooal (get it?!) will be to hold you over till 2022 with POV: The Worker’s Cup (July 9 at 10PM). As of this writing, an assiduous million man army of African and Asian migrant workers labors with herculean effort in Qatar, the next host nation.

No shame in being sedentary sometimes, especially when your destination has No Passport Required (series premiere, July 10 at 9PM). From the Vietnamese of New Orleans to the Indo-Guyanese of Queens, delight in great gastronomy from sea to shinning sea(food)!

THIRTEEN gives you a total of thirty reasons on why America is the way she is. In 10 Streets That Changed America (July 10 at 8PM), learn how, for example, Broadway got its start as a Native American trail. A week later, get the story behind the statue (of Liberty) and other memorable monuments in 10 Monuments That Changed America (July 17 at 8PM); finally, the Seven Wonders meet their match with the 10 Modern Marvels That Changed America (July 24 at 8PM).

As MC Hammer was once “too legit to quit,” so is Man’s survival too fit to quit! In Earth’s Natural Wonders: Life at the Extremes (series premiere, July 11 at 8PM) learn to survive, from intrepid human communities in northern Siberia to the South Pacific, with the penultimate episode emphasizing survival through symbiosis with local wildlife.

It’s sure to be a bottom-of-the ninth grand slam with American Masters Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” (July 23 at 9PM). Sports figures from Bob Costas to Wade Boggs weigh in how this “Splendid Splinter” lived up to his presidential namesake (“Ted” for Theodore Roosvelt) with his equally ursine talent and personality.

Frontline: UN Sex Abuse Scandal (July 24 at 10PM) investigates alleged vile violations perpetrated by UN Peacekeepers in war-torn parts of Eastern Europe and Africa.

As we celebrate America’s birthday, let us reflect on what makes for durable democracy. Yes, it is blood, but also ink. Mighty swords, but even mightier pens. A powerful military, as well as an equally potent media. Among the ranks of the latter, MetroFocus, I derive a deeper meaning, specific to New York City. The word “focus” derives from the Latin for “fireplace” (and for Italophones, “fuoco”). Now, its very apropos to NYC, for it reminds me of Lady Liberty’s torch. Impactful news shows such as the NewsHour, Amanpour & Co, Firing Line, Frontline and, of course, MetroFocus, keep that torch lit and aloft, enlightening and engaging the citizenry. Indeed, “democracy dies in darkness,” but it can also live by light and flames of a factual press. And as Justice Brandeis once said, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

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