What has happened to Nova?

Nova used to be a nice show about science. This week’s program was about escape attempts from the Nazi prison at the Colditz castle. It was a fascinating and entertaining program, but the closest thing to “science” was a closeup of the book on aeronautics some of the prisoners used to design and build a glider they planned to launch off the castle’s roof. (Here’s a link to an article about the glider. Pretty cool.)

And another almost-totally-atypical feature was that the replica of the glider was finished and tested BEFORE time ran out! Not most of the way done, with the participants returning home because their vacations ran out. Not “just this close” to being done except the Nova production schedule ran out. Finished and in the air, flying beautifully. Anti-climactic, in a way.

And could that glider have been more complex? A perfectly typical 1930s primary glider. Admittedly, Rogallo hadn’t devised his wing but it wouldn’t have been difficult to invent independently–hell, a paper airplane could give a bored POW some ideas of what to do with some sticks and a couple bedsheets. And Lilienthal’s control problems had been solved, hadn’t they? Or was counterintuitively leaning out of the bank invented in the 60s, allowing the hang gliders to fly twice?

Whatever. The whole thing was just too complex. They were planning to fly 1000 yards from 300 feet up. They didn’t need a full fuselage. Or dope. (“We were going to make dope from ground millet we got in our rations.”) Goddamned engineers. I have a sign at work, “There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineers and start production.”

The book “Escape from Colditz” (I read it 30 years ago) mentioned the glider being built but never used.

But to your question. Television is in sweeps. PBS will never admit to being in sweeps. But a nice audience looks nice to program underwriters, too.
Last November one of the highest rated PBS programs was “Hitler’s Lost Submarine.” Things like this are not forgotten come sweeps time.

So what you’re saying is that, fifty-five years after the war, ya just can’t beat Nazis as ratings blockbusters? At least, until Nova discovers the ratings potential of a visit to a strip club in the guise of an investigation into the safety of breast implants?

It’s scheduled for the May sweeps?

You joke, but the A&E did a special during sweeps several years back on the sex trade around the world. It was just a thinly veiled excuse to show footage in titty bars, interview hookers, and show Japanese vendors selling soiled school-girl undies. It was scheduled only to appeal to the horn-dog, T&A obssesed segment of the male population, and I regretably enjoyed every last minute of it. :wink:

The term Blockbuster may be a bit strong when
referring to PBS program scheduling.
I’ve always thought of it as “tweaking.” Each program
provider wants to put in what they think is their best
shot during ratings. Nothing new here.
As for hot sex…PBS seems to be satisfied to limit this
to insects.

'Nova isn’t doing that bad. While unranked, they beat Connecticut today. See for yourself.

Yeah. That’s really more of a Frontline topic.

I take it you missed “The Nature of Sex” miniseries? Or the occassional breastcancer special showing topless young women giving themselves a thorough examination?

Er, I mean, I heard that PBS shows this sort of thing …

Quite frankly I am unimpressed by everything after '71, the last really good year for Novas. They were built to compete with all the little japanese death traps and originally came with a four cylinder engine. Then some rare brilliance among engineers reared its V8 visage. They took a closer look and saw that in such a light car a big engine would be really nice. That isn’t what you are talking about though. I don’t have a t.v. so it was the only way I could relate. That or talk about stars and I know very little about stars. Good thing this is MPSIMS or I would feel bad about this post.

[sub]I knew a car hijack was inevitable. I almost pulled it myself, but thought I’d give one of you the chance.[/sub]

Had a '77 with a 305 and that mother would MOVE! Handled well, for the time, and looked pretty good. Of course, it wasn’t a SS327 Chevy II or SS396 '69 Nova, but it was okay for '77.

And an “Iron Duke” (HAH!) in the the second generation body? It was to laugh! (Wasn’t '68 the last year they offered it? C&D made a snotty comment about the only folks who bought it were Iowa farmers.)

This week’s Nova was a big improvement. I always say that, if you want a good TV show, it never hurts to have a disinterment or two. And this week’s episode had mummies stacked up like cordwood.

That’s more like it!

She rode off into the Forbidden Zone with Chuck Heston, then he bit the dust, and she wound up with Victor Buono and a bunch of epidermis-challenged people and that really bad blond actor from TV who I think died a few years back.