Friday, July 18, 2008

NatGeo Premieres

NatGeo is one of the channel’s BeansTalk checks through the on-screen cable guide – we DVR shows that interest us… we just received their premiere releases and we’ve listed some here, including the descriptions of two new “Taboo” episodes – they’are a little sensationalistic, but fascinating nonetheless.

“Taboo: Touching the Dead” *SEASON PREMIERE*

Wednesday, August 6, at 9:00 PM ET/PT (World Premiere)

Seeing death can fill people with horror, and touching the dead, to many, is taboo. But every society needs people to handle our physical remains. In the Philippines, residents of densely populated Manila can’t escape overcrowding … even in death. Unable to afford permanent burial plots, the poor can only rent temporary resting places for the deceased. Meet one of the men who “evict” bodies when their five-year lease expires. Then, travel to Los Angeles, where an autopsy entrepreneur is tapping the growing market of Americans willing to pay money to find out exactly how their loved ones died. And in Bangkok, Thailand, a volunteer rushes to the scene of a fatal traffic accident. After she helps prepare the body for its trip to the morgue, she will stay at the scene of the accident and perform Buddhist rituals to help ferry the lost soul to the next life.

“Taboo: Extreme Kids”

Wednesday, August 6, at 10:00 PM ET/PT(World Premiere)

For many Americans, childhood is a time of innocence. But what one society sees as a normal way to grow up might seem extreme in the eyes of another. Could you send your young sons to a festival where men cut themselves with knives and razor blades to prove their religious devotion? For Shi’a Muslims in India, participation in this annual ritual of self-mutilation teaches one to overcome a fear of death and to face one’s own mortality. Next, would you let your 3-year-old step into a boxing ring to fight for money? In Thailand, young children earn extra income for their families by engaging in highly dangerous kickboxing matches. And in Australia, a 5-year-old boy continues to be breast-fed by his mother, despite being old enough to go to school.

Additional primetime highlights include:


“Howard Hughes Revealed”

8:00- 9:00 PM ET/PT

How and why did a man so rich, so accomplished and so visible become so reclusive, phobic and fragile? How much truth is there in the popular image of Hughes' descent into madness? And what can recent medical discoveries contribute to our understanding of this man, his habits, seemingly bizarre behaviors and final years? NGC reviews recent studies of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the effects of repeated head injuries, the neurological damage of syphilis and the impact of addiction, to shed new light on America's most bizarre billionaire.


“China's Warrior King”

8:00 -9:00 PM ET/PT

As China’s first emperor, Qin was known as a brilliant strategist and the most powerful man of the ancient world. He led one of the most advanced civilization of his time, planned the first Great Wall, and built his most widely known legacy: his self-designed tomb and the amazing army of terra-cotta warriors, which will be exhibited in the United States. in a four-city tour beginning this spring. What motivated Qin to pursue his goals with merciless determination while sacrificing hundreds of thousands of his subjects? Now, NGC goes inside his massive mausoleum, using the latest archaeological research and imaging techniques to get an unparalleled glimpse of the treasures in the emperor’s tomb. 3-D reconstruction takes us on a virtual journey through this vast labyrinth and into the burial chamber of the emperor himself, a place not entered in more than 2,000 years.


“Lockdown: Newbies”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

At the Wyoming State Penitentiary (WSP), 30 new correctional officers have one thing in common: none of them have ever worked in a prison before. WSP is chronically and dangerously, understaffed - even the inmates know how dire the situation is. To find new officers, the prison went recruiting in states rife with unemployment. The COs moved to Wyoming for a job. Now, NGC follows three rookies, including a recent college graduate, a carpenter and a 27-year-old mother of two, about to face the toughest criminals in the state. Witness firsthand the challenges of officer training, manipulative inmates and working in this dangerous environment. Witness firsthand the challenges of officer training, manipulative inmates and working in this dangerous environment.


“Break it Down: Bridge”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

It was once one of the longest bridges in the world, but now it must come down. See how 24,000 tons of steel and concrete from the Carquinez Bridge in San Francisco are dismantled and recycled. Witness how engineers attempt to do it in a new way: They turn spans of the bridge into ships and then sail them away in less than 48 hours. But this new innovation brings new risks to all involved, including two functioning bridges on either side that stand dangerously close.


“Battle of the Bears”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

In the heart of Yellowstone National Park, there is a vicious struggle between two of the world's most powerful creatures - black bears and grizzly bears. When a black bear was found slain by a grizzly bear in 1990 it was the first documented case in 60 years of research. Over the next 15 years, three more slaughtered black bears were discovered and researchers struggled to determine the factors behind these deaths. Now, the National Geographic Channel, with a team of scientists, investigates this Battle of the Bears.

“Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls”

9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT

The Dead Sea Scrolls are considered one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th century but also one of the most controversial. Representing nearly every book of the Jewish Bible and the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, they provide intriguing insight into a passionate belief system which challenges long-standing traditions and beliefs. In Decoding the Dead Sea Scrolls, a dream team of archaeological and theological experts unravel their mystery and explores theories surrounding their creation, including the Church’s 50-year unofficial embargo on their publication.

"King Tut and the Lost Dynasty "

10:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT

Narrated by Emmy award-winning Alfre Woodard, King Tut and the Lost Dynasty documents a high-tech forensic investigation by international experts lead by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, dedicated to resolving the fate of the famed queen.


“Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr: Undercover Hippo”

8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT

Armed with a specially designed, lifelike 200-pound Kevlar hippo suit that is covered in hippo dung and mud, Dangerous Encounters’ Brady Barr goes on a mission to get within arm's reach of hippos without harming them or injuring himself. The goal: to extract a sample of wild hippo "super sweat" and analyze its protective agents, which one theory suggests may hold powerful antibiotics and sun-blocking properties. If the secrets of hippo sweat are unlocked, it could lead to the development of new antibiotics and sun blocks for humans. Research of this kind has been done on captive hippos, but never on wild, unsedated hippos.