Comedy & Drama

May the 4th Be With You: Remembering a Very Special Star Wars Visit to Sesame Street

This annual unofficial Star Wars holiday – May the 4th be with you! – gives us a great excuse to go back and look at one of our favorite moments from the legendary intergalactic franchise. That, of course, was the day that R2D2 and C-3PO visited Sesame Street!

Landing just before the release of The Empire Strikes Back, the second film in the still-growing series, the two iconic droids actually appeared on our favorite children’s program for two episodes in January 1980. And the highlights are still amazing.

First, the Sesame Street gang approach the friendly pair to see what brings them to town. Naturally R2D2 claims a secret mission has brought him to deliver a secret message, while C-3PO simply wants an oil change after traveling 50 parsecs.

Then, the two space friends join in the kind of impromptu musical fun – and learning – that can only happen on Sesame Street when they teach Big Bird how to count with their own personalized numbers ditty – “If it says one, I go ‘beep!’ If it says two, I go ‘beep beep!'” – and join in with Bob and friends on an almost avant-garde interpretation of the alphabet song!

And, of course, what would a visit to Sesame Street be without meeting a new friend? Before blasting off back to another galaxy, R2D2 even fell in love with an unexpected feature of almost every street!

Of course, this actual visit from real stars of the Star Wars cast isn’t the only time the films have found their way onto the beloved children’s series. In fact, just a few years ago, Star Wars was the focus of one of our favorite Sesame Street parodies, “Star S’mores.” Watch for Snuffleupagus as a Bantha, and stay for the meta in-joke of Grover as Yoda. And, May the 4th be with you!

Preview the “Call the Midwife” Season 6 Premiere!

We’re just three days away from the season premiere of the critically-acclaimed season 6 of Call the Midwife,  airing 7 p.m. this Sunday, April 2 on Wisconsin Public Television. But you don’t have to wait till the premiere to be reunited with your favorite characters; you can enjoy an exclusive sneak peek of the series now!

Watch the first 10 minutes of Episode 1 now:

In season 6, Nonnatus house faces the changes of 1962. As they strive to help mothers and families cope with the demands of childbearing, disability, disease and social prejudice, the Poplar medics must make choices – and fight battles – of their own.

What are you most looking forward to in the new season? Share your predictions below!

Victorious Blog, Episode 7: Season Finale


“Who is the greatest chicken killer in Shakespeare?” “Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.”

This is the seventh post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Well, folks: It’s the end of an era. The glorious reign of Victoria on Masterpiece is over …  for now.

Our Sunday evenings will no longer include these lovable new pals – from Queen Victoria to Prince Ernest. Over the course of the season, even the characters we initially cursed under our breath warmed our hearts eventually (I’m looking at you, uncle Leopold!).

At this point, it feels like it’s been years since we gazed upon Lord M. Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 7: Season Finale

Enter the Masterpiece 2017 Sweepstakes!

Do you dream of stepping into the worlds of Victoria and Downton Abbey? (I know I do!) Well, here’s your chance: Enter the 2017 Masterpiece Sweepstakes! The grand prize is incredible: A tour of Downton Abbey’s famous Highclere Castle, a visit to Sherlock filming locations in London, and a chance to explore Victoria sites in Yorkshire.

In addition to the amazing grand prize, you can also win awesome PBS merchandise. BUT, time is running out to enter: The deadline is March 15, 2017. Enter daily at pbs.org/sweepstakes

Masterpiece is offering even more chances to win through Twitter! It’s as easy as this: After you enter, click on the Twitter icon below the words “Invite Your Friends” on the “Thanks for your entry” page. Once you share the sweepstakes via Twitter, you will get another entry (up to 5 additional entries) in the Sweepstakes for each friend that enters. 

Details on the Grand Prize From Masterpiece

“With an itinerary arranged by VisitBritain, Great Britain’s national tourism agency, this trip features a visit to world-famous Highclere Castle, tours of historic estates in Yorkshire filmed for Victoria, and a private tour of the Tower of London, used in Sherlock.

The 7-day, 6-night trip includes economy class round-trip travel to London Heathrow Airport on British Airways from any British Airways operated U.S. gateway city at the time of travel, and includes a connecting one-way flight to Leeds Bradford Airport in Leeds. Accommodations are four-star, including The Royal York Hotel and London’s Edwardian Hotel.

The Grand Prize winner will also receive Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Victoria merchandise, including the Downton Abbey Complete Limited Edition Collector’s Set DVD, Sherlock Seasons 1, 2, and 3 on DVD, a Sherlock action figure, and Victoria Season 1 on DVD, all from shopPBS.org.”

Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

“Don’t talk railway at me.” -Victoria

This is the sixth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

What’s more relaxing than enjoying a private concert with your closest companions and frenemies? Well, probably a lot of things, considering how uncomfortable those chairs looked. But that’s not Victoria’s world.

“The Engine of Change” follows Victoria through her early, nausea-filled stages of her pregnancy, explores Albert’s continued quest for independence, and generally showcases that the times are a-changin’ – and if the royals are going to keep up, they’re going to have to change, too.  Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

“Never mind, Duchess; not all of your arrows miss their target.” – Prince Ernest

This is the fifth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Whew – what an episode! Notably, this was the first episode without Melbourne. (Why have you forsaken us, Lord M?!) But the storyline was solid, and I made it through the episode without too much heartache.

“The Queen’s Husband” covered Victoria and Albert’s blossoming relationship and Albert’s quest for a bit of independence. This was my second favorite episode so far – so much excitement packed into the hour. (Missed the episode? Watch online now.Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”

“But you are not an ordinary woman; you are a queen.”

This is the fourth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Upon recovering from learning that my colleague has ACTUALLY MET RUFUS SEWELL – with a picture to prove it! – I’m ready to talk about Victoria on Masterpiece: “An Ordinary Woman.”

[Editor’s note: Jonna is lying, literally and figuratively; after the excitement of a royal wedding, she has taken to her fainting couch with a case of the vapours. Feel better!]

How do you tell a familiar story without making it appear stale? Therein lay the challenge for Daisy Goodwin when writing this episode.  (Yeah, yeah, we know there’s a wedding …)

But Goodwin’s got some magic up her Victorian-era sleeve. Episode Four begins with familial gloating, peaks with gratuitous brooding, and ends with – excuse me, without the need for Madeira.

Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”

Victorious Blog, Episode 1: “Doll 123”

1837: The monarchy is in crisis. William IV has retreated to Windsor. The heir to the throne is his teenage niece Alexandrina …

Much like a coffee devotee content with a lukewarm cup of joe,  I’ll admit that I’ll be content with repeats of Downton Abbey for quite some time. The history, the British humor, the romance – it never really gets old. But with the release of Victoria, Masterpiece is back to stoke the fire with a new PBS treasure, and I’m happy to dive in to a new soon-to-be-favorite show. 

The eight-hour drama, hailed as “a sparkling gem in PBS’ crown” by The New York Post, made its debut last night (watch the full episode online). With a footprint of about two hours, settling in for Victoria’s premiere was a commitment, but well worth the time. In a not-so-gentle nod to the episode’s title, “Doll 123″ – here are my three favorite elements from the Victoria premiere. (Numerous spoilers ahead!)

Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 1: “Doll 123”

“Miss me?” Sherlock returns for Season 4 on Sunday, Jan. 1

“There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less and a cleaner, better stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”
–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “His Last Bow”

As the premiere of Sherlock’s “darkest season yet” creeps up on us this Sunday, a dedicated Sherlockian reflects on the BBC production’s relationship with the Canon: the original 60 stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Tune in at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Day (Sunday, Jan. 1) for the premiere of Masterpiece Mystery! Sherlock, Season 4 with “The Six Thatchers.” An encore of this 90-minute episode begins at 9:36 p.m.

Then, tune in at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8 for an up-to-the-minute encore of “The Six Thatchers,” followed at 8 p.m. by “The Lying Detective.” The finale of Season 4, aptly titled “The Final Problem,” airs at 6:30 p.m. – just before the series premiere of Victoria; how’s that for an evening of great TV? – on Sunday, Jan. 15.

And don’t forget: you can watch Sherlock from the very beginning starting 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 with “A Study in Pink.”

Continue reading “Miss me?” Sherlock returns for Season 4 on Sunday, Jan. 1

Dashing Through the Snow? Five Holiday Favorites to Watch on the Go!

For those of us with loved ones in various area codes, holiday travel is an inevitable part of the holiday experience. If you have some time to relax on your journey – or are simply looking for something to keep the children entertained on the road – WPT’s online video library has you covered!

Here are five online holiday favorites that run the gamut from music to craft to Wisconsin-made programs. All of the shows below are available to stream on video.wpt.org and on the PBS channel of your Roku or other digital device.

Trust us: this list is just the tip of PBS’ holiday programming iceberg! You can explore the full collection online, anytime.

Caregivers, take note: the PBS KIDS app and pbskids.org/video/ let you stream full episodes of PBS KIDS programs, including holiday favorites from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat and more! 

Read inside for some of our favorites – and let us know what gems you find!

Continue reading Dashing Through the Snow? Five Holiday Favorites to Watch on the Go!