Feature

The Weeks guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

American Masters: Mel Brooks—Make a NoiseSix months after HBO broadcast its own Mel Brooks tribute, the funnyman is back for a full-dress portrait. American Masters chronicles Brooks’s career from his Borscht Belt days to his formative work as a TV writer through his run as the creator of such hit comedy films as Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Carl Reiner and The Producers’ Nathan Lane share a few of the stories that Brooks doesn’t tell himself. Monday, May 20, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

The Ghost ArmyIn 1944, 1,100 handpicked American soldiers arrived in Europe ready to wage a new kind of war. Using inflatable tanks and crates of sound-effects records, these brave installation artists—including future designer Bill Blass and future painter Ellsworth Kelly—set up ghost divisions again and again to fool the Germans into misreading the size and location of the Allied forces’ fighting units. In this fascinating documentary, numerous surviving members of the group recount their long-classified exploits. Tuesday, May 21, at 8 p.m., PBS; check local listings

ShowvilleJust when you thought you’d seen every possible permutation of a televised talent show, along comes a production crew that sets down in a different small town each week and gives the locals a stage. The offbeat result is part America’s Got Talent, part Waiting for Guffman, as regular folk trot out whatever talents they have for a chance at a $10,000 cash prize. Thursday, May 23, at 9 p.m., AMC

MotiveThe killer is identified before the sleuths ever get the case in this new detective drama series, which seeks to make overturning narrative convention a strength. Kristin Lehman plays a sassy blond detective and Louis Ferreira her Harvard-educated partner as the pair work backward to learn what caused each perpetrator to strike.Thursday, May 23, at 9 p.m., ABC

Behind the CandelabraLast month Al Pacino played Phil Spector in an HBO movie. This month, Michael Douglas plays Liberace, and shockingly well, too. Steven Soderbergh’s weirdly thrilling biopic—the director’s avowed swan song—brings to life a weird, tumultuous relationship that the Las Vegas pianist shared with a much younger man. Matt Damon excels as the buff teen who, during the good times, became Liberace’s driver, lover, and adopted son. Sunday, May 26, at 9 p.m., HBO

Other highlights

NashvilleThis country-music drama has been a modest success, yet it’s produced a few Billboard hits, turning its two featured actresses into borderline recording stars. Get an earful in this week’s season finale. Wednesday, May 22, at 10 p.m., ABC

Does Someone Have to Go? Schadenfreude junkies should love this new reality show, which lets the wage-earners inside various dysfunctional companies decide who needs to be fired. Thursday, May 23, at 9 p.m., Fox

National Memorial Day ConcertThe National Symphony Orchestra and various military choruses perform at this annual tribute to America’s fallen soldiers. Sunday, May 26, at 8 p.m., PBS; check local listings

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