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The Age

Pay TV - Saturday, June 6

Author: Brad Newsome
Date: 04/06/2009
Words: 456
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Green Guide
Page: 36
The Mormons

History, 7.30pm

THIS first two-hour instalment of a series by the American public broadcaster PBS traces the history of the Mormon Church from its founding in 1829 to the current-day controversy over polygamy in breakaway sects. Church officials and non-Mormon historians and theologians explain how the church emerged after its founder, Joseph Smith, claimed that an angel led him to a book of golden plates detailing God's dealings with ancient Israelites who had migrated to the Americas. Despite a time of unprecedented religious freedom, government persecution and mob violence soon forced the Mormons from state to state and eventually to Utah (part of Mexico at the time, but promptly annexed by the US). As with all things PBS, it's unsensational and illuminating and gives room to all points of view. You can also watch the series online at pbs.org/mormons.

World's Deadliest Animals: Forests

National Geographic, 7.30pm

WHAT do the mountain lion, the anaconda and the bull ant have in common? National Geographic has loads of footage (pictured) of them left over from other documentaries, by the looks of it. The cutting-room floor seems more of a link than the catch-all "forest" habitat, which covers everything from the Amazon to California and bits of Africa that look suspiciously like desert. Still, there is some amazing footage here, particularly of the nightmarish-looking fossa (a kind of giant mongoose) hunting lemurs in the trees of Madagascar. The scenes of Amazonian mice being caught and killed by a bird-eating spider and a giant centipede are also quite special.

America's Best Dance Crew

MTV, 5pm

OR, TO give it its correct title, Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew - even though executive producer Jackson is nowhere to be seen tonight. At first it looks as if judges JC Chasez, Lil Mama and Steve Sparks have been told to critique the performances the way Jackson does on American Idol - each and every dance crew is ecstatically adjudged to have brought it, come with it, stepped it up, thrown it down and/or delivered. Pleasingly, though, when some of the later routines get wobbly the judges aren't afraid to get stuck in, and their criticisms are both astute and constructive. Tonight, each of the nine crews dances its way through a remix of a hip-hop hit before the bottom two have an elimination dance-off during a live performance by rapper Flo Rida. The format's a bit stale but the dancers are pretty fresh.

Worth a look

Who Do You Think You Are? Marathon (BBC Knowledge, 1.30pm). Ten amazing hours of British celebs uncovering their family histories.

Oprah (W, 7.10pm). Oprah talks to Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.

Shatner's Raw Nerve (Bio, 6pm). William Shatner talks to Jimmy Kimmel.

 
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