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

American Masters: The Polio Crusade
In 1950, more than 33,000 Americans—half of them under 10—were afflicted with polio. Archival footage and interviews with historians, scientists, and survivors trace the campaign against the dread disease, including the launch of the March of Dimes and the race between Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin to develop a vaccine. Monday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Independent Lens: Adjust Your Color, The Truth About Petey Greene
Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene Jr. went from being a prison inmate and heroin addict to a trailblazing radio and TV personality in Washington, D.C. His outspoken approach to race, religion, sexuality, and other topics influenced such successors as Howard Stern. Don Cheadle, who portrayed Greene in the 2007 film Talk to Me, narrates a lively Independent Lens profile. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

30 Rock
In “Generalissimo,” true love runs less than smoothly for Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) as she tries to attract a handsome new neighbor (Jon Hamm of Mad Men). Meanwhile, her boss, Jack (Alec Baldwin), finds his romance with Elisa (Salma Hayek) complicated by his resemblance to a villain on her grandmother’s favorite Spanish soap opera. Last month Fey and Baldwin each picked up a second consecutive Golden Globe for the series. Thursday, Feb. 5, at 9:30 p.m., NBC

Gifted Hands
Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as Ben Carson, who overcame poverty and racial prejudice to become the first neurosurgeon to successfully separate Siamese twins joined at the head. Kimberly Elise portrays his mother, who fought her own battle, with depression. Intelligent writing and direction, along with Gooding’s well-modulated performance, lift this biodrama above standard inspirational fare. Saturday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m., TNT

Morphed
Was the humble American turkey once a mighty dinosaur? In the first episode of this one-night miniseries investigating evolution’s byways, computer graphics and animation dramatize new research suggesting that offspring of a splinter group of dinosaurs eventually evolved into the modern Thanksgiving bird. The second episode shows how wolf-like desert creatures took to the seas as whales; the third looks at the ancient ancestors of bears. Sunday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m., National Geographic Channel

Other highlights

NOVA: The Spy Factory
This look at the National Security Agency is highly critical of its role in domestic surveillance since the 9/11 attacks. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at
8 p.m., PBS; check local listings


Nature: Drakensberg, Barrier of Spears
Cameras follow the eland, a type of African antelope, through an arduous migration up the towering Drakensberg Mountains. Sunday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Mark & Olly: Living With the Machigenga
In this new series, explorers Mark Anstice and Oliver Steeds live with the isolated Machigenga tribe of the Amazon rain forest. Sunday, Feb. 8, at 10 p.m., Travel Channel

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

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