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The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching
The best TV programs this week
 

Cat Dancers
Before Siegfried and Roy, there were the Cat Dancers: Ron Holiday, wife Joy Holiday, and Chuck Lizza, who had one of the first exotic-tiger acts in show business. Equally exotic was their ménage à trois living arrangement. This artfully made documentary chronicles their colorful story?and the two sudden deaths that brought it to a tragic end. Monday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m., HBO

Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes
When director Stanley Kubrick died, in 1999, he left behind some 1,000 boxes of documents and memorabilia accumulated during his long and noteworthy career. Filmmaker Jon Ronson searches through them to present a revealing perspective on one of the most important—and reclusive—figures in modern cinema. Monday, Dec. 15, at 9 p.m., Sundance Channel

Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football
The struggle for racial equality was won on the college football gridiron as well as in the streets. Athletes such as Jerry LeVias, the first African-American scholarship athlete in the Southeastern Conference, braved abuse to integrate their sport. He and other trailblazers give first-­person accounts in this stirring documentary, which climaxes with the 1970 showdown between University of Southern California and “Bear” Bryant’s legendary Alabama team. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 10 p.m., HBO

Dance in America: San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker
Marking the 75th anniversary of the San Francisco Ballet, which first introduced the Nutcracker to America in 1944, this version of the beloved work transplants it to the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exhibition. Maria Kochetkova and Davit Karapetyan lead the ensemble. In high-def and surround sound. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m., PBS; check local listings

In the Womb: Identical Twins
Computer graphics and ultrasound images follow the journey of identical twins from embryogenesis through delivery. The filmmakers look at the vital role identicals play in scientific investigations into issues of nature versus nurture, and examine why some identicals turn out quite different from each other. They also talk to separated-at-birth twins who met for the first time four decades later. Sunday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m., National Geographic Channel

Other highlights

Christmas in Washington
Kristin Chenoweth is among the performers slated to appear before President Bush and other VIPs. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 8 p.m., TNT

Spectacle: Elvis Costello With …
The rock star greets a guest who chose a political career over a musical one: former President Bill Clinton. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 9 p.m., Sundance Channel

L.A. Holiday Celebration 2008
Highlights of last year’s Los Angeles County Celebration, featuring hundreds of performers of many cultures. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

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