Top Picks: 'Once' as a musical, 'Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,' and more

PBS's romance 'Birdsong' will appeal to 'Downton Abbey' fans, 'Revenge of the Electric Car' explores why the plug was pulled on the electric car, and more top picks.

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    'River of No Return', on PBS’s Nature.
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If you like 'Downton Abbey' ...

Try PBS's Birdsong, a new romance set in the same World War I era. The two-part adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's 1993 novel, starring Eddie Redmayne and Clémence Poésy as young lovers, airs on April 22 and 29. London's The Daily Telegraph calls it "a triumph ... elegiac and lyrical."

Electric tales

Recommended: Culture and Science

In honor of Earth Day, PBS's "Independent Lens" features Revenge of the Electric Car April 19, at 10 p.m. The filmmakers spent three years tracing the real reasons – and players – behind the demise of General Motors' plug-in EV1 and tracking the return of today's electric car market.

Bottom of the deep blue sea

In the wake of director James Cameron setting a record for deepest solo dive, a video by National Geographic sheds light on his experience, including footage of him emerging safely from the sub, video of the desolate ocean floor, and an interview about the dive. At one point, he says the pressure on the sub was so great that it caused the sides to compress by three inches – with him inside, of course. Check out the video at nationalgeographic.com and search for Cameron solo dive.

'Once' more

Once, the musical based on the hit 2007 Sundance Film Festival selection about a busker and an immigrant, has a lilting, fresh, indie musical soundtrack. Now available on CD, this recording features the original Broadway cast. Hansard and Irglová's song "Falling Slowly" received a 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the soundtrack as a whole also received a Grammy nomination.

A team goes rogue

In Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, available on DVD and Blu-ray April 17, Tom Cruise is better than he's been in a long time, seeming relaxed even when reportedly doing his own stunts for a climb up a 123-story building. The movie is one of the best installments in the "Mission Impossible" series and comes with death-defying hijinks and exotic panoramas of places like Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

A wilderness few know

Take a ride on the Salmon River, deep in the heart of Idaho's Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness, home to everything from otters to elk, deer, bluebirds, and nine packs of wolves that are being reintroduced after a 50-year absence. The wilderness is larger than Yellowstone National Park, yet few people have heard of it, let alone visited it. River of No Return, on PBS's "Nature" April 18 at 9 p.m. ventures into the wilderness's rugged mountains for a rare visit.

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