Presidential Debate
To be held at Belmont University in Nashville, the second of three scheduled debates between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama is the only one between the nominees that will be conducted in a town-hall format. Moderator Tom Brokaw will have the option of including questions to the candidates submitted by voters via MySpace. Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 9 p.m., various networks

World’s Toughest Fixes
An emphasis on the technical side puts this new series about daunting repair challenges a cut above the rest of the hazardous-occupation reality genre. This week, host Sean Riley goes to the Gulf of Mexico to witness the replacement of a 38-ton propeller on a ship too large for most ports—meaning the delicate operation must be done in open water. Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 10 p.m., National Geographic Channel

Kath & Kim
In this credible Americanization of a hit Australian sitcom, Molly Shannon and Selma Blair play the respective title roles of a perky middle-aged mom and her sulky, self-obsessed daughter. Though a tad gentler than the original, it retains a satirical view of mass culture and celebrity worship. Both Shannon and John Michael Higgins, as her sandwich-vending suitor, find a balance between mockery of and sympathy for their characters. Thursday, Oct. 9, at 8:30 p.m., NBC

Life on Mars
Another Americanization of a foreign show, this time one that combines police drama with a time-travel premise. Jason O’Mara stars as a New York police detective suddenly transported to 1973. Michael Imperioli (Christopher on The Sopranos) and Harvey Keitel are meant to be supporting players, but steal every scene they’re in. Thursday, Oct. 9, at 10 p.m., ABC

Jared Hara was a happy Florida youngster with a passion for playing hockey when his family discovered that he had a genetic defect that would render him blind by age 13. Inspiring but never saccharine, this documentary chronicles the traumatic effect Jared’s ailment had on his family, and the friendship that enabled him to endure. Friday, Oct. 10, at 7:15 p.m., HBO

Other highlights
Costas Now with Aaron & Mays
Baseball legends Hank Aaron and Willie Mays review their careers in this edition of Bob Costas’ show. Thursday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m., HBO

Eleventh Hour
Rufus Sewell stars in this new drama as a quirky biophysicist who’s a special consultant to the FBI. Thursday, Oct. 9, at 10 p.m., CBS

Show of the week
14 Women

Over the 218-year history of the U.S. Senate, fewer than 2 percent of the 1,875 Americans who served there have been women. As recently as January 1992, there were only two female senators, but by January 2006 there were 14. Filmmaker Mary Lambert, the sister of Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, here interviews them all: in their offices, while campaigning, and in their homes. From Elizabeth Dole to Dianne Feinstein to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the women have different political views, and their cited inspirations range from their parents to Anita Hill. But all reveal a fierce dedication to public service, which has helped them balance family responsibilities with their challenging jobs. As Hillary Clinton puts it, “There’s a lot of slings and arrows.” Annette Bening narrates. Monday, Oct. 6, at 9 p.m., Sundance Channel

Movies on TV this week

Monday, Oct. 6
Twentieth Century (1934)
A bankrupt impresario (John Barrymore), the star he’s desperate to sign (Carole Lombard), and the titular cross-country train are key ingredients of this screwball classic. 8 p.m., TCM

Scarface (1983)
Al Pacino gives a beyond-over-the-top performance as a Miami drug lord in Brian De Palma’s crime epic, which stretched boundaries for screen violence. 9:45 p.m., Encore

Victim (1961)
Groundbreaking in its day, this British crime drama features a fine Dirk Bogarde as a closeted homosexual barrister battling a blackmail scheme. With Sylvia Syms. 5:15 p.m., IFC

Mon Oncle (1958)
Jacques Tati, France’s answer to Chaplin and Keaton, returns to his signature role of bumbling M. Hulot and struggles unsuccessfully with modern gadgets in this beloved comedy. 11:15 p.m., TCM

The Limey (1999)
In this thinking-man’s crime drama from Steven Soderbergh, Terence Stamp is excellent as an ex-convict out to learn how his daughter died. 10:30 a.m., TMC

Atonement (2007)
Seven Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, went to this lavish adaptation of Ian McEwan’s bleak novel about the fateful consequences of a young girl’s spiteful lie in 1930s England. 8 p.m., HBO

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958)
Ingrid Bergman shines as Gladys Aylward, a real-life missionary who led children across the mountains to safety when the Japanese invaded China. 6 a.m., FMC