Leandro’s Don’t Miss List: December 2017 on THIRTEEN

Leandro Mejia | November 30, 2017

WNET’s very own Leandro Mejia, a self-proclaimed public media superfan, writes a monthly column of his must-see recommendations on THIRTEEN. Check out his suggestions for new and encore programs you won’t want to miss. And if you want to expand your vocabulary, click on the hyperlinked words for a definition.

Twelve Days of THIRTEEN

Tavis Smiley hosts THIRTEEN’s late-night talk show, a hybrid of news, issues and entertainment, featuring interviews with newsmakers, politicians, celebrities and real people.


On the Twelve Days of THIRTEEN, Public TV gave to me: Twelve Tavis’ Smiling, Eleven Cyber Seasons, Ten Vietnam Episodes, Nine Knowing NOVAs, Eight British Poldarks, Seven Days of NewsHour, Six Years of American Graduate, Five Years of MetroFocus! Four Chefs at Work, Three Theater Close-Ups, Two Podcast Seasons …and a Goshawk in a Spruce tree.

What to Watch in December

Hamilton the musical cast

(l to r): Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda in the Broadway musical Hamilton. Photo: Joan Marcus


“The Story of Tonight” is Great Performances: Hamilton’s America (December 1, 9PM). As these New York streets get colder, stay in and learn more about this shot heard ’round Broadway, its revolutionary score (including the fatidic title, “My Shot”), and a continental congress of guests such as President Obama, Questlove and Stephen Sondheim. This Holiday of Hamilton continues with Treasures of New York: Hamilton’s Albany (December 3, 7PM) — learn more about Hamilton’s life at New York’s state capital and about the rebarbative rivalry (and ultimately mortiferous meeting) with Aaron Burr.

Play three of The Gabriels: Women of a Certain Age at The Public Theater. Photo © Joan Marcus.


Theater Close-Up — The Gabriels: A Year in the Life of a Family During Election Year (December 3-5, 10 PM) is a singular study of the kafkaesque election that brought about our current unprecedented president. Trichotomously aired from Sunday to Tuesday, its town hall-like ambiance, democratizes viewing experiences for audiences, whether in situ, on-air or online.

Treasures of New York: The Flatiron Building (December 11, 7PM) will iron out the history, so to speak, of the famous edifice that bifurcates Broadway and 5th Avenue at 22nd Street.

Remembering Leonard Nimoy is a documentary premiering December 11 at 10pm on THIRTEEN.


Let your search for Spock end with Remembering Leonard Nimoy (December 11, 10PM). Even though Mr. Nimoy has passed on, he undoubtedly is boldly going into the undiscovered country.

Eric Idle’s The Entire Universe (December 22, 10PM) hearkens back to the halcyon Bill Nye days, where the seriousness of science was offset with the merriment of music, becoming the Promethean teaching torch reaching out to impart science to non-scientists.

Independent Lens: Supergirl


The lean, mean, learning machine that is THIRTEEN presents Independent Lens: Supergirl (December 18, 10PM). Learn more about this Orthodox preteen’s unorthodox Samsonian strength.


The Critic’s Choice for Best Ongoing Documentary Series, American Masters, will make for a hopeful hiemal season with This is Bob Hope… (December 29, 9PM). The palindromic performer’s USO troupe brought troops a modicum of merriment to their Christmases. Ceasefires to the senses for those feeling like strangers in strange lands. We give Thanks for the Memories with a legacy that includes a USNS Bob Hope, The Bob Hope Show, Family Guy spoofs of his On The Road movies (with Bing Crosby), and a risible regiment of comedic commanders such as Woody Allen, Conan O’Brien and Margaret Cho.

In this holiday season of travel, you don’t necessarily need planes, trains or automobiles: you can use THIRTEEN Passport, to reach any destination of learning! Whether its Revolutionary America, the Victorian United Kingdom, or uplifting tales of everyday life today, Passport is the perpetual present that gifts you a fruitful future. While your membership is the “Thank You,” Passport is our “you’re welcome!”