01/23/1989 at 01:00 AM EST
PBS (Mon., Jan. 23, 8 p.m. ET)
At its best, an encyclopedia is clear, concise, insightful and painlessly, efficiently informative. This documentary series on our nuclear world is encyclopedic in the very best sense. It is smart. It is slick. And it is surprisingly and spectacularly compelling. Sure, I rolled my eyes at the title. I also rolled them at the huge pile of tapes sitting on my VCR—almost 13 hours worth. I especially rolled them when I saw that the fifth show in the series was yet another look back at the Cuban missile crisis. But this is not the same old history told the same old way. This series has fresh reporting and a fascinating perspective; it makes old news newly engrossing. This is the precious best of PBS.