‘Pioneers of Television’ launches into exploration of early sci-fi TV

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Spock (Pioneers of Television on PBS)Don’t forget: Tuesday night marks the return of the PBS documentary series Pioneers of Television, with a look at the early use of the science fiction genre to explore morality on the small screen. Star Trek stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy (pictured) and Nichelle Nichols offer their perspectives. Also discussed: Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone) and Irwin Allen (Lost in Space).

The episode will air 8 p.m. Tuesday Arizona time, and encore 11 p.m. that same evening, midnight Jan. 20 and 3 p.m. Jan. 23.

The second installment a week later delves into the popularity of Westerns such as Davy Crokett, Daniel Boone, Maverick, The Big Valley, Wild, Wild West, Gunsmoke and Bonanza. Installments stretching into February will finish the series with a look at crime dramas and children’s television — including, notably, Arizona’s own Wallace and Ladmo.

The first season of Pioneers, which looked at late-night shows, sitcoms and variety programs, will be rebroadcast when the current season is finished in mid-February.

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