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Shakespeare Uncovered: Julius Caesar with Brian Cox

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a play that upholds liberty against tyranny. But what is tyranny? And who decides? Shakespeare doesn’t make it simple. In order to preserve the freedom of the Roman Republic, Julius Caesar, an “over-mighty” leader, is assassinated by Roman Senators led by Caesar’s friend Brutus. Caesar wanted to become an emperor. Is Brutus a traitor or a great hero and defender of liberty? Brian Cox explores how Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s “American” play, showing how easy it is for a “free” republic to fall into corruption. More than that, the play challenges us to think about who or what to trust and what values we want to live by – and to look inside and wonder how well we even know ourselves.

Airs on WXXI-TV October 19, 2018 at 10:30 pm
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View the trailer here.

Shakespeare Uncovered: Measure for Measure with Romola Garai

Measure for Measure takes an astonishingly timely look at sexual morality, hypocrisy and harassment. Shakespeare asks us to “measure” the price of liberty against the moral and social cost of libertinism. It’s a play about vice, the law and sexual corruption at the highest levels, and, for nearly two centuries, it was considered too racy to be produced on the English stage. Garai explains why there is no light-hearted happy ending in this play, but something much darker and more complex – truly a sexual tale for our time.

Airs on WXXI-TV October 19, 2018 at 9:00 pm
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View the trailer here.

Frontline: Chasing Heroin

Facing a heroin epidemic, America is experimenting with radical new approaches to the drug problem. Following four addicts in Seattle, examine U.S. drug policy and what happens when heroin is treated like a public health crisis, not a crime.

Airs on WXXI-TV October 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm (repeats 10/20 at 10:00pm)
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or watch online (with PBS commercials) here.

The Eugenics Crusade

A hybrid derived from the Greek words meaning “well” and “born,” the term eugenics was coined in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, a British cousin to Charles Darwin, to name a new “science” through which human beings might take charge of their own evolution.

The Eugenics Crusade tells the story of the unlikely –– and largely unknown –– movement that turned the fledgling scientific theory of heredity into a powerful instrument of social control. Perhaps more surprising still, American eugenics was neither the work of fanatics, nor the product of fringe science. The goal of the movement was simple and, to its disciples, laudable: to eradicate social ills by limiting the number of those considered to be genetically “unfit” –– a group that would expand to include many immigrant groups, the poor, Jews, the mentally and physically disabled, and the “morally delinquent.”

At its peak in the 1920s, the movement was in every way mainstream, packaged as a progressive quest for “healthy babies.” Its doctrines were not only popular and practiced, but codified by laws that severely restricted immigration and ultimately led to the institutionalization and sterilization of tens of thousands of American citizens. Populated by figures both celebrated and obscure, The Eugenics Crusade is an often revelatory portrait of an America at once strange and eerily familiar

Airs on WXXI-TV October 16, 2018 at 9:00 pm
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View the trailer here.

Shakespeare Uncovered: The Merchant of Venice with F. Murray Abraham

Shakespeare probably never met a Jew. Three centuries before The Merchant of Venice was written, England became the first country in medieval Europe to expel its Jewish population. Abraham addresses the ubiquitous anti-Semitism that characterized Europe in Shakespeare’s time. Comparing Shylock to the stock Jewish villain of the day, the episode looks at the efforts over the years, for better or worse, to treat him more as a victim and rescue Shakespeare from any taint of anti-Semitism.

Aired on WXXI-TV October 12, 2018 at 10:30 pm

POV: Dark Money

Follow an investigative reporter through a political thriller to expose the shadowy world of unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions threatening to upend Montana’s government and the very integrity of American democracy.

Aired on WXXI-TV October 1, 2018 at 10:00 pm