Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Inside the NSACameras go behind the doors of the National Security Agency’s 2-million-square-foot headquarters in Fort Meade, Md., where employees store their office keys in code-activated dispensing machines and discarded documents aren’t merely shredded—they’re pulverized. It will be the first time the public will see inside the NSA’s National Threat Operations Center, created in 2005 to prevent cyberattacks on Defense Department networks. Monday, Jan. 30, at 9 p.m., National Geographic Channel

The UnionRolling Stone writer turned filmmaker Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire) directed this engaging documentary about the recent collaboration between Elton John and his phlegmatic idol Leon Russell. As it chronicles the birth pangs of the duo’s acclaimed 2010 album The Union, the film also looks back at the illustrious careers of the two artists. Fame may have faded for both men since their career peaks, but their creative powers haven’t. Thursday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m., HBO

Independent Lens: Daisy Bates—First Lady of Little RockAll but forgotten today, civil-rights activist Daisy Bates was instrumental in the 1957 struggle to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., a movement that provoked a constitutional crisis. Filmmaker Sharon La Cruise spent seven years re-creating the life of this self-taught, unconventional pioneer. Thursday, Feb. 2, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Michael Feinstein’s American SongbookFeinstein, a singer and music historian, returns with a second three-episode season of his tuneful history of American popular song. This week, he travels the country visiting performers and music collectors, including Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, to explore the ways that the legacies of past performers have been preserved, from filmed performances to “soundies,” the pre–World War II precursors to music videos. Friday, Feb. 3, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Super Bowl XLVIThe pregame hoopla in Indianapolis hits its climax when Kelly Clarkson sings the national anthem and country stars Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton perform “America the Beautiful.” The game’s actual kickoff follows, with the halftime show handled by Madonna, aided by M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj. Sunday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m., NBC

Other highlights

The War Room With Jennifer GranholmThe former two-term governor of Michigan launches a weeknightly program of news and political commentary. Monday, Jan. 30, at 9 p.m., Current TV

Key & PeeleKeegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are the writers and stars of this new sketch-comedy show inspired by their experiences of growing up biracial. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central

NOVA: Ice Age Death TrapA trove of fossils high in the Colorado Rockies yields clues about the fate of the mighty mastodons that once roamed North America. Discoveries at the site also point to the possibility of early human habitation. Wednesday, Feb. 1, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

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