The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week


Laura Dern is fierce and funny in this new series, as a onetime corporate high-flier who returns from treatment for a nervous breakdown wanting both her old job and new meaning in her life—only to run up against rude realities. Luke Wilson, Mike White, and Diane Ladd (Dern’s real-life mother) co-star in this offbeat comedy-drama about the rocky road to transcendence this world of ours presents. Monday, Oct. 10, at 9:30 p.m., HBO

Sun Come Up

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For some 2,500 inhabitants of the Carterets, a remote island chain in Papua New Guinea, global warming isn’t merely a theory: Rising ocean levels have forced them to leave their homeland and beg for refuge among neighbors with whom they have troubled relations. An Oscar nominee this year for Best Documentary Short, this 38-minute film follows the odyssey of one of the warming trend’s first groups of environmental refugees. Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m., HBO2

Independent Lens: Wham! Bam! Islam!

The first Islamic superhero comic-book series, The 99, follows a team of teenagers and adults who each embody one of the 99 traits of Allah as described in the Koran. This documentary employs comic-book-style graphics as it chronicles the struggle of the series’s creator, Kuwaiti psychologist Naif al-Mutawa, to overcome resistance from Islamic leaders and realize his vision of inspiring Muslim children and improving his faith’s image. Thursday, Oct. 13, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

The Walking Dead

The horror drama set in a South overrun by zombies returns for its second season with its store of suspense and shudders still ample. In the season opener, the survivors leave Atlanta, embarking on a perilous 125-mile odyssey to the hoped-for haven of the Fort Benning Army base. Andrew Lincoln leads the cast. Sunday, Oct. 16, at 9 p.m., AMC

Masterpiece Mystery! Case Histories

Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, stars as private detective Jackson Brodie in a three-part adaptation of a trio of Kate Atkinson novels. In the first installment, a woman’s complaints about a lost cat lead Brodie to a 30-year-old mystery about a girl’s disappearance, as well as two other cases that are unrelated—or are they? Sunday, Oct. 16, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Other highlights

Chilean Mine Rescue

One year after a group of miners were rescued from a collapsed Chilean mine, first-person accounts and re-creations tell the dramatic story of the men’s 68 days underground. Thursday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m., Smithsonian Channel

Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore

This colorful production of the beloved 1878 operetta is the first of nine weekly performances that compose the PBS Arts Fall Festival. It was filmed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Friday, Oct. 14, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Hairy Bikers

This new docuseries follows a four-star chef and a mechanic as they motorcycle across America, exploring and preparing local cuisine. Friday, Oct. 14, at 10 p.m., History

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