The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us

All of us are creatures of the 1980s in more ways than we’d like to think. This six-part, six-hour series, running on three consecutive nights, looks back on the era of MTV, Ronald Reagan, and “greed is good” to show us how the touchstones we thought we knew came to be and how they influence our lives today. Original Brat Pack member Rob Lowe narrates. Begins Sunday, April 14, at 8 p.m., National Geographic

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines

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In 1941, a Harvard psychologist made a daring leap by creating a new female superhero—Wonder Woman, who represented an archetype of the kind of woman William Moulton Marston hoped would someday rule the world. This marvelous documentary weaves the character’s subsequent ups and downs with the stories of women who’ve embraced her as an icon, from Ms. Magazine co-founder Gloria Steinem to a young immigrant mother who wears a Wonder Woman tattoo. Monday, April 15, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Nature: The Mystery of Eels

Even scientists can’t answer some basic questions about eels—such as where exactly they spawn in the Sargasso Sea before traveling thousands of miles to freshwater creeks and rivers. This most mysterious fish has fascinated writer and naturalist James Prosek since boyhood, and his study of the creature and its place in human culture will leave you marveling too. Wednesday, April 17, at 8 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Call Me Crazy

An all-star collection of actresses and directors assembled to create this anthology of five short films about women and girls dealing with various mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Directors include Laura Dern, Ashley Judd, and Bryce Dallas Howard; Academy Award winners Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Hudson, and Melissa Leo are among the films’ stars. Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m., Lifetime

Mary and Martha

Brenda Blethyn and Oscar winner Hilary Swank star in this tearjerker about two mothers from different worlds who bond after each loses a son to malaria contracted in Africa. Swank plays an American interior designer whose boy falls ill during a safari vacation, while Blethyn plays a British housewife whose adult son is struck down while working as a volunteer teacher. Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m., HBO

Other highlights


Viewers of this ambitious new sci-fi series, which imagines an Earth where humans are marginalized by the arrival of seven alien races, can also play an online video game that’s set in the same future. Monday, April 15, at 9 p.m., Syfy

Deadliest Catch

Raging seas and raging tempers abound as crab fishermen working Alaska’s Bering Sea fight deadly conditions and one another in a reality series embarking on a ninth season. Tuesday, April 16, at 9 p.m., Discovery

Nova: Australia—First Four Billion Years

Arthropods abandon the ocean for dry land in the stirring second episode of a four-part series about the origins of life, as revealed by Australia’s unparalleled fossil record. Wednesday, April 17, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

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