Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Rufus Wainwright: Prima Donna
Singer/songwriter Wainwright is the son of two famous folk singers (Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III), but since his teens has had a powerful affinity for opera. This colorful documentary chronicles his stormy experiences as he struggles to mount his most ambitious project: a classical opera. Monday, Dec. 21,at 9 p.m., Sundance Channel

Doctor Who: The End of Time
David Tennant completes his award-winning run as the 10th incarnation of the time-traveling Doctor in a two-part adventure that begins with the rebirth of the character’s greatest foe, the Master (played by Life on Mars star John Simm), on Christmas Eve. Other guest stars include Timothy Dalton, Catherine Tate, and Billie Piper. Saturdays, Dec. 26, at 9 p.m., and Jan. 2, at 8 p.m., BBC America

American Masters: The Woman Behind Little Women
A fascinating American Masters reveals details about Louisa May Alcott that belie her image as a spinster writer of wholesome juvenile fiction: The daughter of freethinkers, she contracted typhoid as a Civil War nurse and wrote lurid thrillers under a pseudonym. Elizabeth Marvel ably portrays Alcott in re-enactments; Jane Alexander plays her biographer. Monday, Dec. 28, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

The 32nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors
Artists honored at this year’s festivities come from the worlds of comedy (Mel Brooks), jazz (Dave Brubeck), opera (Grace Bumbry), acting (Robert De Niro), and rock ’n’ roll (Bruce Springsteen). Performers and presenters include Meryl Streep, Herbie Hancock, Carl Reiner, Jack Black, Jon Stewart, and Sting. Caroline Kennedy hosts the black-tie gala, recorded Dec. 6. Tuesday,­ Dec. 29, at 9 p.m., CBS

This Emotional Life
Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert hosts this three-night series about improving relationships and coping with anxiety. Part 1 shows why “Family, Friends & Lovers” are essential to emotional well-being. Part 2, “Facing Our Fears,” presents profiles of battles with anger, anxiety, and depression. Part 3, “Rethinking Happiness,” features stories of people who have bounced back from abuse and misfortune. Monday–Wednesday, Jan. 4–6, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Other highlights

Independent Lens: Scenes From a Parish

An affecting portrait of a formerly all-white Catholic community in economically hard-hit Lawrence, Mass., as it reacts to an influx of Latino residents. Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Tournament of Roses Parade
Hero pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is Grand Marshal of this year’s floral extravaganza. Al Roker and Nancy O’Dell host from Pasadena, Calif. Friday, Jan. 1, at 11 a.m., NBC

Dance School: Juilliard
In this documentary series, cameras follow 16 dancers through their final year at the Juilliard conservatory in New York City. Saturday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m., Ovation

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