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The Weeks guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Life According to SamSam Berns would never be mistaken for just another 17-year-old. The high school junior is one of only 100 people in the world known to have progeria, a genetic disorder that causes rapid premature aging. Despite his feeble frame, bald pate, and wrinkled skin, Sam is a teenager at heart—curious, energetic, and passionate about sports and music. As this exceptional documentary shows, his parents, both doctors, have become passionate about their research to find a cure. Monday, Oct. 21, at 9 p.m., HBO

Frontline: Hunting the Nightmare BacteriaIt’s the stuff of horror stories: Hospitals around the globe are facing a surge in infections caused by drug-resistant killer bacteria. Frontline reporter David Hoffman investigates and finds that the era of dependable antibiotics may be ending, in part because drug companies can’t find enough profit in developing new ones. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

BlackfishNearly four years ago, an orca whale named Tilikum killed a trainer at SeaWorld shortly after performing before a crowd of delighted ticket-buyers. This acclaimed documentary takes a hard look at Tilikum’s history in captivity, uncovering two previous fatal attacks and a string of traumas —all of which suggest that penning in such an intelligent, sociable animal might be dangerously cruel. Thursday, Oct. 24, at 9 p.m., CNN

DraculaJust when you thought the vampire craze had run its course, along comes a smart, heart-pounding, sexy, and violent series built around the character who started it all. The Tudors’s Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as the darkly dashing Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad the Impaler), who has traveled to fast-changing 1898 London to exact revenge against those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. To NBC’s credit, the show feels less like a network production than it does premium cable. Friday, Oct. 25, at 10 p.m., NBC

Civil War 360Even given today’s political divisions, it can be hard to imagine the mind-sets of those who took up arms against one another in the 1860s. This three-part series aims to show the conflict from the perspectives of soldiers from both sides, and of slaves as well. In the first episode, actress Ashley Judd mulls the experiences of her great-great-great-grandfathers in the Union Army while she studies museum artifacts. Sunday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m., Smithsonian

Other highlights

CrazySexyCool: The TLC StorySpot-on impersonations highlight this dramatization of the rise and tragic demise of TLC, R&B’s girl group of the ’90s. With Lil Mama as “Left Eye” Lopes.Monday, Oct. 21, at 9 p.m., VH1

Bar HuntersDreamers looking to open bars of their own get help from experts in this new reality series. Monday, Oct. 21, at 10 p.m., Discovery

The Governor’s WifeThis new reality series puts a singular couple in the spotlight: Edwin Edwards is an 86-year-old former Louisiana governor who served prison time for corruption; Trina Edwards is his 35-year-old trophy wife.Sunday, Oct. 27, at 10 p.m., A&E

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