Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way
Marking Dave Brubeck’s 90th birthday, this portrait of the legendary jazz pianist includes vintage performances, a never-aired interview by Walter Cronkite, and commentary from such notable fellow musicians as Yo-Yo Ma and Sting. Clint Eastwood is executive producer of this tune-filled profile. Monday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m., TCM

Royal Opera House: The Nutcracker
Romanian ballerina Alina Cojocaru is the featured dancer in the kickoff episode of Ovation’s annual “Battle of the Nutcrackers,” which lets viewers vote for their favorite interpretation of the Tchaikovsky ballet. Airing on subsequent weeknights are productions from Casse Noisette Circus, Berlin State Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, and choreographer Maurice Béjart. Sarah Jessica Parker and ballet star Damian Woetzel host. Monday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m., Ovation

Men of a Certain Age
As this bittersweet comedy-drama starts its second season, divorced dad Joe (Ray Romano) gingerly re-enters the dating scene and trains for the senior golf tour; auto dealer Owen (Andre Braugher) struggles to maintain management authority under the overbearing influence of his father; and actor manqué Terry (Scott Bakula) womanizes while looking for a new niche. All three actors are first-rate as men contending with the indignities of middle age. Monday, Dec. 6, at 10 p.m., TNT

Mythbusters: President’s Challenge
Responding to a personal request from President Obama, Mythbusters’ Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman enlist the help of 500 student volunteers to test the truth of an ancient legend: that Archimedes set fire to an enemy fleet using only sunlight focused by mirrors. This special episode of the fallacy-debunking series supports the White House’s campaign to improve science, technology, engineering, and math awareness. Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 9 p.m., Discovery

Wishful Drinking
Actress turned author Carrie Fisher shares frank and ruefully funny reflections on various chapters of her life, including on her dysfunctional celebrity family, the iconic legacy of her Star Wars films, and her bouts with addiction and mental illness. Taped before a live audience, this one-woman stage show was based on Fisher’s best-selling memoir of the same name. Sunday, Dec. 12, at 9 p.m., HBO

Other highlights

Martha Stewart’s Holiday Open House
Actresses Jennifer Garner and Claire Danes help Martha cook and decorate for the holidays. Monday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m., Hallmark Channel

Community
The characters in this community-college ensemble comedy undergo hypnosis to help Abed (Danny Pudi) discover the roots of his obsession with Christmas. To illustrate his mental landscape, the special episode employs stop-motion animation in the style of vintage TV holiday specials. Thursday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m., NBC

Private Screenings: Liza Minnelli
The performer discusses the lives and films of her parents—Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli—with host Robert Osborne. Saturday, Dec. 11, at 10 p.m., TCM

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