We’ve got a billionaire wanting to get down and dirty with his giving and your brain on music tonight.
First up is NBC’s new summer show The Philanthropist, at 10 p.m., starring James Purefoy as Teddy Rist, a billionaire adrenaline junkie who decides to do good works. There’s some violence and implied sex and sex talk in the show, itself. But it’s probably okay for middle school or older with supervision.
Overall, I thought it moved somewhat slowly and the characters weren’t all that involving. That being said, I also thought that the show brought up some interesting ideas, like trying to exorcise your personal demons by going beyond writing a check and actually getting down and dirty in your giving. Except that while Rist does risk his neck to get some cholera vaccine to a remote Nigerian village (and I couldn’t help but wonder what my Nigerian friends would think of the episode), he doesn’t really do the grunt work of working the food line or building the huts or whatever. Of course that’s not as exciting to watch.
I also wonder how much of the uneveness in the show will work itself out in later episodes. Somehow, I doubt it will get that much of a chance since nobody seems to be watching NBC these days and this show isn’t that good. Yet.
Next up is The Music Instinct: Science and Song, which (you guessed it) is on PBS at whatever time your local station decides to air it. Should be 9 p.m., but check your local listings.
The film is about the neurological science behind the human need to make music, and it is fascinating. Okay, it’s also about half an hour to an hour too long. But that may be because there were aspects of the physics of sound that didn’t quite grab me. The relationship between music education and brain development, that said a lot even before the actual subject came up.
Why, oh, why, with all this evidence that learning to play an instrument (including our voices) helps kids learn, do we still leave arts education an afterthought, if we fund it at all? It’s one of those things that just makes me crazy about our current education system.
Because the film is two-hours long and not always the most riveting, you may want to record it ahead of time and play it in segments. There’s a lot of meat here and as a parent, you might want to watch it with a view to thinking about how you are educating your kids. Your older kids might enjoy it if they are either scientifically or musically gifted.
Anne Louise Bannon
Your Family Viewer