Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Civil WarriorsCreated to mark the Civil War’s 150th anniversary, this three-hour, three-part program follows the emotional journeys of 11 Americans as they seek insights into their forebears’ experiences of the conflict. Descendents pore over letters and other materials left by their ancestors, including privates in both the Union and Confederate armies, a nurse, a surgeon, and the famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Monday, April 11, at 8 p.m., National Geographic Channel

American Experience: The Great FamineBefore he became a Great Depression scapegoat, Herbert Hoover may have saved more lives than anyone else in history during the devastating famine that struck Bolshevik Russia in 1921. This documentary tells the largely forgotten story of how a pre–White House Hoover led a massive American relief effort that fed nearly 11 million Soviet citizens daily despite the suspicions of Lenin’s government. Monday, April 11, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Rediscovering Alexander HamiltonAuthor Richard Brookhiser wrote and hosts this unconventional look at a controversial Founding Father. The show visits Hamilton’s Caribbean birthplace, sketches his wartime and Wall Street milieus, and re-enacts his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. To explain Hamilton’s legacy, it also features a colorful range of commentators, including urban gang members, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and publishers Larry Flynt and Rupert Murdoch. Monday, April 11, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Jamie Oliver’s Food RevolutionReturning for its second season, this award-winning series follows chef Jamie Oliver as he continues his campaign against unhealthful eating and childhood obesity in America. In the season premiere, he struggles to rally community support when the Los Angeles Unified School District rejects his bid to reform its school-lunch menu. Tuesday, April 12, at 8 p.m., ABC

Gun FightBarbara Kopple (Shut Up and Sing) directed this new examination of the debate over guns in America. She follows a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre and an emergency-room doctor as they campaign against easy access to firearms, particularly the type of gun-show sales captured by Kopple’s hidden cameras. Also spotlighted: victims of gunfire violence and a disillusioned NRA member. Wednesday, April 13, at 9:30 p.m., HBO

Other highlights

Independent Lens—Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant ChildThis new profile features a rare interview with the late painter, who catapulted to fame in the ’80s after turning from graffiti to neo-Expressionism. Tuesday, April 12, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

The Paul Reiser ShowThe Mad About You star returns to Thursday-night comedy as a fictionalized version of himself. Thursday, April 14, at 8:30 p.m., NBC

Friday Night LightsThe award-winning drama about a Texas town where life revolves around high school football returns for its fifth and final season. Friday, April 15, at 8 p.m., NBC

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