Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Lucky
A Vietnamese immigrant who bought mansions for family members; a suicidal loner down to his last dollar; a generous couple hounded for handouts; an eccentric hero who wound up sleeping with a gun under his pillow. All of these multimillion-dollar lottery winners are subjects of this documentary—from the makers of Spellbound—about the unexpected results of such windfalls. Monday, July 19, at 9 p.m., HBO

POV: El General
As president of Mexico in the 1920s, Plutarco Elías Calles initially unified the country following years of revolution. But his anti-Catholic policies led to another bloody civil war. This documentary by his great-granddaughter weaves film clips and interviews with present-day Mexicans into a lyrical essay that reflects ruefully on promises of revolution that remain unfulfilled today. Tuesday, July 20, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

American Masters: Merle Haggard
Country music legend Merle Haggard was well on his way to a life of crime before music saved him, and this colorful profile recounts the whole unlikely journey. American Masters follows the 73-year-old on the road and traces his career through archival footage and interviews with Kris Kristofferson, Robert Duvall, John Fogerty, Keith Richards, Tanya Tucker, and Haggard himself. Wednesday, July 21, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman
Freeman is an engaging host for this lively science series, which uses animated sequences to make complex ideas clear. This week, “What Are We Really Made Of?” shows how tools such as the Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland are altering assumptions about the building blocks of matter. Wednesday, July 21, at 10 p.m., Science Channel

The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett’s best-seller about a battle for the throne in 12th-century England—and the birth of gothic architecture—becomes a highly watchable miniseries. Producers Ridley and Tony Scott maintain a brisk storytelling pace, and the compelling cast includes Ian McShane (Deadwood), Matthew Macfadyen (MI5), Rufus Sewell, and Donald Sutherland. Friday, July 23, at 10 p.m., Starz

Other highlights

Samantha Brown’s Asia
The second episode of this travel series takes Brown to China, where she visits the thriving commercial cities of Hong Kong and Macau. Monday, July 19, at 8 p.m., Travel Channel

Freaks and Geeks
IFC is reairing Judd Apatow’s comedy-drama series, set in a Michigan high school in the early 1980s. This week’s episode, “Tests and Breasts,” involves a cheating scandal and sex education. Friday, July 23, at 11 p.m., IFC

Being Human
This series about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost trying pass as ordinary roommates returns for a second season. Saturday, July 24, at 10 p.m., BBC America

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