Picks: PBS’s answer to Netflix (at half the price)

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For your weekend consideration …

“The Force” (streaming at pbs.org; might be re-airing on your PBS station). “The Oakland, California, Police Department has a long history of betraying the trust of many, if not most, of the citizens it is sworn to serve. During the filming of ‘The Force,’ the OPD once again betrayed that trust in such an awful way, you might ask yourself why anyone would live in Oakland.” (My full review.)

“Two Towns of Jasper” (streaming at pbs.org through Jan. 31). “A white minister walks through the town’s largest cemetery and realizes, to his astonishment, that it’s segregated! The demarcation line is a fence running the length of the graveyard. He calls up some African-American ministers, and soon the fence comes down. What is much harder to bring down is the invisible fence that blinds white residents of Jasper from seeing the very different reality of black lives.” (My full review.)

“Casting JonBenet” (Netflix). “At its core, ‘Casting JonBenet’ is about the need people have to attach themselves to stories they passionately believe to be true — even when they are demonstrably false. It’s about the power of ‘alternative facts’ when people merge them with their own emotionally charged personal narratives. It’s also a really unusual and entertaining film.” (My full review.)

Passport to PBS’s vault

By the way, here’s something PBS doesn’t do a good job of promoting so I will.

If you give at least $60 a year to your local public television station, you’ll get access to Passport, the deep vault of PBS programming. This means you won’t miss out on a program after its free window on the PBS website expires.

For instance, “Two Towns of Jasper,” which I raved about earlier, is still streaming but only through January 31.

Personally, I don’t understand why anyone would give Netflix or Hulu $100 or more a year and not give their PBS station $60 a year. Between keeping the “NewsHour” on the air and the local jobs you support, it’s a no-brainer.

If you haven’t given lately, visit pbs.org and look for a program with the blue Passport logo in the upper-left corner (it looks like the compass symbol on a map). Click on it, and your next screen should be the paywall, where you set up an account, or sign in to your existing one, then give your money and off you go. (If you’re already paid up, and just need to link your pbs.org account to your paid membership, this may not go as smoothly — it didn’t for me. But I got help from one of those local people at my PBS station.)

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