Our primate progenitors had bodies a lot like those of modern monkeys and spent tens of millions of years living in trees. From them we inherited our versatile hands, amazing vision and capable brains — but also some less beneficial traits, including our bad backs and terrible sense of smell.
Wed, 04/23/2014 - 9:00pm
What makes an animal smart? Many scientists believe the secret lies in relationships. Throughout the animal kingdom, some of the cleverest creatures — including humans — seem to be those who live in complex social groups, like dolphins, elephants and apes. Could the skills required to keep track of friend and foe make animals smarter? To find out, NOVA goes inside the social lives of some of the smartest animals on the planet.
Wed, 04/23/2014 - 8:00pm
In the frigid valleys of Japan’s Shiga Highlands, a troop of snow monkeys functions in a complex society of rank and privilege where each knows his and her place. Their leader is still new to the job and something of a solitary grouch. One innocent little monkey, unaware of his own low status, reaches out to this lonely leader and they form a rare and remarkable bond that alters both their lives. Changing seasons bring new babies, family disagreements and tragedies. Mating season brings competition for females as the days grow shorter and colder in the rush to winter. With their now confident leader to guide them and their families to shelter and care for them, these snow monkeys are ready to face the world.
Tue, 04/22/2014 - 10:00pm
An estimated 80,000 Americans are in solitary confinement — even people who haven’t committed violent crimes — sometimes for years or even decades. Using extraordinary access to the segregation unit at the maximum security Maine State Prison, FRONTLINE examines America’s use of solitary confinement — a practice U.S. prisons and jails resort to more than most other countries. Some prison officials see it as necessary to keep order and safety, but critics say it is inhumane and counterproductive. “Solitary Nation” is an extraordinarily rare and intimate view of life in solitary, through the stories of inmates living in isolation, the prison officers who keep them locked in and a new warden who is re-thinking the practice and trying to reduce the number of inmates in solitary.
Tue, 04/22/2014 - 9:00pm
Experience the battle for a living planet in the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement, spanning 50 years of grassroots and global activism. Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende and Meryl Streep narrate.
Pioneers of Television
Tue, 04/22/2014 - 8:00pm
From George Clooney on “ER” to Richard Chamberlain on “Dr. Kildare,” television’s long love affair with doctors and nurses shows no signs of letting up. Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, Gloria Reuben and Eriq LaSalle open up about the secrets of “ER”; Howie Mandel, Ed Begley Jr. and Christina Pickles revisit “St. Elsewhere.” The episode also features the final interview with Chad Everett of “Medical Center” before his recent death.
Tue, 04/22/2014 - 3:30pm
An eco-themed one-hour special, “The CYBERCHASE Movie” follows Matt, Jackie, Inez and Digit as they are called on to rescue the animals and restore harmony to Ecotopia after Hacker and his bumbling robots wreak havoc. Environmental and math topics explored include natural habitats, the impact of habitat loss and proportional reasoning.
Mon, 04/21/2014 - 9:00pm
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the “Singing River,” as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall, who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Hall brought black and white together in Alabama’s cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the “Muscle Shoals sound” and the Swampers, the house band at FAME that eventually left to start its own successful studio, Muscle Shoals Sound. In this joyful film, Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals’ magnetism and mystery, and why it remains influential today.
Mon, 04/21/2014 - 8:00pm
In Anaheim, California, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW host Mark L. Walberg and appraiser Philip Weiss travel to the Queen Mary to talk about ocean liner memorabilia. Highlights include a Marx Brothers prop duck, one of two duck props made for the “You Bet Your Life” television show; two sketches by pop star Michael Jackson, ca. 1973, that were given to the owner by Jackson in a tenth-grade art class; and a Frederic Church oil painting, ca. 1867, that once belonged to the owner’s great-aunt, who was married to the artist, and is now appraised for $100,000 to $150,000.