Friday, March 19, 2010

"Television with a Conscience"

The Television Academy of Honors will pay tribute to eight TV episodes "with a conscience" on May 5th, 2010. The criteria for the selection was, broadly, demonstration of the "power of television to change attitudes and lives...These programs concern vital issues ranging from capital punishment to racism, prescription drug abuse and trafficking, autism, the military escort for fallen service members, physician-assisted suicide and important disability issues."

Here are the eight episodes announced, with plot synopses.

CSI, "Coup De Grace": The team investigates the accidental shooting of an off-duty cop by another cop, officer Danny Finn, whose unabashed racial bias raises the possibility that the shooting was no accident

Glee, "Wheels": Glee advisor Will Shuster challenges the club members to spend a week without walking to better understand their fellow member Artie, who has paraplegia. The group takes it one step further and prepares a full song and dance number in wheelchairs. A student with Down Syndrome is also selected for the cheerleading squad, whose usually caustic coach has a sister with the same condition.

Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?: An HBO documentary that tells five stories of children, ages 6-15, who are coping with grandfathers or grandmothers suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Explorer, “Inside Death Row”: An episode in this National Geographic expose interviews three inmates in Huntsville, Texas as their dates of execution draw near, and follows the stories of their families and loved ones as they deal with death firsthand.

Private Practice, "Nothing To Fear": Pete and Sam of Oceanside Wellness struggle with the issue of assisted suicide, as a former colleague with stomach cancer faces a slow, painful death.

Taking Chance: Another HBO movie, this film is based on the journal of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, who volunteered to escort the remains of fallen Marines to their homes in the United States.

Unlocking Autism: Discovery Health will air this documentary on April 6th. Unlocking Autism will "voyage into the lives of some of autism's most fascinating characters and learned more about the challenges and successes of overcoming the still mysterious disorder known as autism."

Vanguard, "The Oxytocin Express": Jouranlists venture to the "main source of an illicit prescription drug pipeline." The documentary tracks the trail of the potent narcotic from Florida to Kentucky, where overdoses and addiction run rampant.

You can view some of these episodes online from the official station websites. Here are links to Wheels on Fox and The Oxytocin Express on Hulu.

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