Top Picks: Acting luminaries talk Shakespeare, Discovery showcases a giant squid, and more

PBS honors naturalist TV host David Attenborough, the New York Times explores a deadly avalanche in Seattle, and more top picks.

Austin City Limits
Kat Edmonson
Ethan Hawke

The Bard, revisited

In a six-part series, PBS takes apart the major plays of William Shakespeare. Beginning Jan. 25, tune into Shakespeare Uncovered to hear some of the top British and American talent deconstruct "Macbeth," the comedies, "Richard II," "Henry IV," "Henry V," "Hamlet," and "The Tempest." A parade of luminaries – Ethan Hawke, Vanessa Redgrave, Trevor Nunn, Jeremy Irons, Derek Jacobi, and Orson Welles (in archival footage) – share insights on the Bard and his extensive cast of characters.

Future of journalism

The New York Times has produced a compelling six-part multimedia narrative about an avalanche that swept down Tunnel Creek on Cowboy Mountain near Seattle, killing three backcountry skiers in February 2012. The excellent writing, slide shows, graphics, and videos by Times staffers point toward journalism's promising future. Set aside an hour for this captivating and tasteful retelling online at

Giant squid lives!

Scientists the world over have hunted the oceans' fabled monsters for centuries. Now, Discovery, in partnership with Japan's NHK, has captured the thrills of encountering one of the strangest and most legendary creatures – the giant squid – on film for the first time ever. The underwater teams spent years hunting this leviathan of the deep in his own lair and finally found him. Monster Squid will air Jan. 27 as the finale of Discovery's "Curiosity" series.

A natural

PBS honors the work of naturalist TV host David Attenborough in a three-part series: Attenborough's Life Stories, which premières Jan. 23. Beginning with his 1950s series "Zoo Quest," Attenborough takes the audience through his years of programming, explaining how filmmaking technology and public perceptions of nature have improved along the way. The highlight is Attenborough himself, who appears endlessly delighted with every animal he finds.

Circles forever

One of the iPhone's big breakthroughs was fighting back against intrusive interfaces. Forget menus and buttons. Go simple. The new iOS game Hundreds does this expertly for $2.99. Tap to expand circles until you reach a score of 100. But if the growing circles touch anything, it's game over. This elegant, intuitive game layers on new twists with each level, turning a basic concept into an array of challenging puzzles.

She's got style

Ready to discover a fresh singing talent? Kat Edmonson, a diminutive, pixie-haired singer from Texas, is truly unique – and one of the most amazing song stylists we've heard in a long time. Her Austin City Limits debut (on PBS) on Jan. 19 will introduce Ms. Edmonson's immense talent to the world as she fronts a string section as well as her own touring band. She performs for a spellbound Austin audience with material from her stunning second album, "Way Down Low."

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