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Monitor Picks

Five things we think you'll really like including a submersion in World War II history, the Colbert book report, and a preschooler TV show for the kid inside of you.

October 19, 2007



Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary

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Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote more than 50 novels for adults, but is remembered best for a children's story that took 40 years to become recognized as a classic. Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, who wrote the definitive biography of Burnett, edits this new annotated version of "The Secret Garden," complete with more than 100 illustrations.

Next Great Reality Show?

We often wondered as we gritted our teeth through "American Idol" auditions: Wouldn't more talent bubble up if the focus were on original songcraft? Guess we'll find out on The Next Great American Band (Fox, Friday, 8 p.m.), a show from Idol's creators.

The Colbert Book Report

"I am no fan of books," Stephen Colbert writes in I Am America (And So Can You!). "Chances are, if you're reading this, you and I share a healthy skepticism about the printed word." He goes on to riff on topics ranging from politics to patriotism, but Colbert eventually digs at something truly meaningful: In an age of glossy terror warnings on the news and endless talking-head punditry, we could all afford to take ourselves a little less seriously.

The Gift Of The Gabba

Not since "Pee-wee's Playhouse" has a kid's program caused such cross-generational gaga. It's no surprise that Nickelodeon's show for preschoolers, Yo Gabba Gabba (weekdays at 11:30 a.m.), has tots in giddy spasms – it's as zany as any 2-year-old. Overly furry characters (with names like Brobee and Foofa) romp about with DJ Lance Rock, the orange-outfitted host. But it's indie-rock guests such as The Shins, an 1980s Atari aesthetic, and wholesome messages that keep parents singing along, too.

Diving Into History

For World War II buffs and scuba divers: The Sea Hunters (out on Oct. 23) follows a marine archaeologist's team as they explore submerged artifacts from the war in locations ranging from flooded caves in Germany to a lake in the Canadian Rockies. Now that's what we call historical depth.

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