Quick! What's that on TV? It's Robert Redford's "The Green," the first regularly scheduled TV show about the environment, and it airs tonight at 9pm (three hours!) on the Sundance channel (101 on Time-Warner cable.)
It will not be like watching paint dry (though it is a little dry.)
Or being forced to remember your long-forgotten statistics classes as you watch the charts spew by (on the other hand, action sequences are as few as hen's teeth...)
Or being told what a terrible person you are for driving your humongous SUV (though, come to think of it, maybe...)
"About a year ago the Sundance channel decided to get in to the green arena in a serious way," said Lynne Kirby, senior VP of Sundance alternative programming. "Our partners, NBC, CBS and Robert Redford saw it as an opportunity to give us a distinctive presence."
Executive producer Barrie Osborne also said that audiences needed to be drawn into storytelling to maintain their interest in the genre, amid concern that too much green-oriented programming could result in "issue fatigue."
"I thought I would take a feature film approach: We're telling a story and have to tell it through people. In a movie, you cast actors to tell the story; in a documentary, you have to go into communities and find the best people to present. In the last three years, we have put together researchers and scientists to find those stories."
In its first 13 weeks, the night will begin with "Big Ideas for a Small Planet," which zeros in on green strategies for modern-day challenges.
Topics include "Build," "Furnish," "Work" and "Kids." Then each "Big Ideas" edition is followed by a thematically complementary documentary at 9:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, "Big Ideas" begins with "Fuel," which poses the question: Can we imagine a world without gasoline?
This is excellent news. The Green bandwagon is in full gear, and everybody's jumping on it.
It can't hurt that so many celebrities are tooting their green horns. Redford's TV show, Sheryl Crow with her "Stop Global Warming College Tour," Leo DeCaprio's foundation, Gwyneth Paltrow (be still, my beating heart,) Sting's rain forest foundation, Richard Branson's $100 million prize, same amount by the Doris Duke Foundation for global-warming research, WalMart pushing CFL bulbs, Wolfgang Puck eschewing factory-farmed meat...the list goes on and on. Read the May issue of Vanity Fair, the second with a green patina this year.
Now, if President Bush would only listen...