"Moone Boy" (
"Sing It On" (Pop, Wednesdays). Former college a cappella singer John Legend is an executive producer of this series, which follows five collegiate a cappella groups with their eyes on a prize. Press materials make references to "Pitch Perfect," a movie I haven't seen, but it seems pretty clear at least that six seasons of "Glee" have helped shape a generation's ideas of music and fun -- the part that turns out for group singing, anyway. (I know that a cappella singing is not the same as show choir, but they have their resemblances.) Although the docu-series is marred by the formalized tics and narrative economies of reality TV -- cutting away from interesting action to show a talking head describing how she or he feels about the action you could be watching instead, for instance, or not letting any conversation run longer than three lines, or scenes that at least seem to have been suggested by a helpful producer -- there are still things to snatch from it. It offers an interesting peek into a world -- a "community" is the word the singers like -- most of us won't know, "Glee" and/or "Pitch Perfect" notwithstanding, but which some take mighty seriously; the company of some talented kids who are good to watch when they're living the emotional moment and not merely describing it; and the hair-raising pleasure of fine voices massed in thick chords.
"Nature: Animal Childhood" (
Still, I will brave a full-on animal documentary now and then, with one eye half-closed and a finger on the remote. This latest edition of the PBS series "Nature," alluringly titled "Animal Childhood," got my attention, and though practically the first words spoken in it are, "There's no doubt that a childhood in the wild can be dark and dangerous," I kept watching. (I am going to go ahead and kill some suspense: The baby mountain goat evades the fox, the baby elephants make it across the river. And day-old ducklings, though they have no wings to speak of, are so light and fluffy that they bounce when they they hit the ground after jumping from the nest. You will not need to be told that this looks good in slow motion.) There are baby tigers and baby bears and baby monkeys, oh my! They grow up in an animal way, which is to say, not unlike the animals we are -- playing to practice adult skills and grow social, learning stuff from grown-ups, getting into trouble because they weren't paying attention. (And the teenagers -- they're animals whatever animals they are.) If they could text, they would, and if I have anything to say about it, they never will.