Worth Watching in April 2011

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By John P. McCarthy

Television, Radio & Multimedia


ABC Family Channel has begun national broadcasts of THE SUNDAY MASS, produced by Passionist Communications. Celebrated at St. Malachy’s Church (The Actors’ Chapel) in New York’s Times Square, the liturgy can be seen every Sunday at 6:30 a.m. ET (April 3).


UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS, an updated version of one of the most loved and honored series in television history, will air on “Masterpiece Classic” (PBS; April 10, 17, and 24).


The latest “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentation BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD is based on a true story about a 24-year-old novice teacher (Emily VanCamp) who overcomes her fears and prejudices to make a difference in the lives of the homeless children (CBS; April 24).


EWTN Radio Network’s new series VOCATION BOOM RADIO, hosted by Jerry Usher, aims to promote priestly vocations and respect for priests (April 1). 


Discovery Channel’s weekly series AMERICAN TREASURES takes a historical road trip across the country with archaeology professors Dr. Jason De León and Dr. Kirk French, as they investigate and examine artifacts that their owners believe may have historical significance (April 5).


The Hallmark Channel original movie BEVERLY LEWIS’ THE SHUNNING is based on the novel by Beverly Lewis in which she relates her grandmother’s experiences growing up in a Pennsylvania Amish community (April 16).


Founded by Father George Puthusseril, Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Miami, the website CATHOLIC SCHOOLS K-12 VIRTUAL is an accredited, online school whose mission is to help existing Catholic schools extend their reach and broaden their curriculum offerings. Visit CSK12.com to learn more.




SOUL SURFER dramatizes the story of Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb), the young girl who lost an arm to a tiger shark and, thanks to her faith, determination, and family support, returned to champion-level surfing. Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, and Carrie Underwood co-star (April 8). 


The makers of the “Ice Age” films present RIO, an animated comedy-adventure about a rare macaw who, believing he’s the last of his kind, leaves the comforts of his cage in small town Minnesota and heads down to Rio (April 15).


In the 3-D documentary CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, director Werner Herzog ventures into France’s highly-guarded Chauvet Cave, home of the most ancient and inaccessible pictorial artwork known to have been created by man (April 29).


Opening on Earth Day 2011, Disneynature’s AFRICAN CATS is an epic tale focusing on three courageous felines and set against the backdrop of the wild savanna (April 22).


Narrated by Morgan Freeman, BORN TO BE WILD documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the people who rescue and raise them, endeavoring to save endangered species one life at a time (April 8).


Based on an award-winning short film, FLY AWAY tells the moving story of a single mother grappling with the challenge of raising her autistic teenage daughter (April 27).


THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM is a riveting documentary about people who raise deadly predators as common household pets (April 1).




In time for Easter, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, the third big-screen installment in C.S. Lewis’ fantasy-adventure series, arrives on Blu-ray and DVD (April 8).


THE KING’S SPEECH chronicles the real-life friendship between Britain’s King George VI (Colin Firth) and the Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) who helped the monarch find his voice and lift the nation during World War II (April 19).


German director Margarethe von Trotta offers an inspirational portrait of the 12th-century Benedictine nun (played by Barbara Sukowa) in the biopic VISION: FROM THE LIFE OF HILDEGARD VON BINGEN (April 19).


Awarded the DOVE Family Approved Seal, BOATHOUSE DETECTIVES is a fun-filled, live-action caper about four pint-sized sleuths who help a kid about to be shipped off to boarding school by her stepmother (April 1).


(Dates and schedules subject to change.)

John P. McCarthy