Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Bud Greenspan Presents: Beijing 2008—America’s Olympic GloryThe Emmy-winning sports documentarian profiles half a dozen of America’s champions from the Beijing Olympics. Swim team captain Jason Lezak helped clinch an upset victory over France in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Gymnast Nastia Liukin, winner of the individual all-around, is the daughter of a 1988 gold medalist for the Soviet Union. Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m., Showtime

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to RagsNew York City’s garment district was once a vibrant source of jobs and creativity; today, globalization has reduced the local industry to a shadow of its former glory. This colorful but elegiac documentary looks back at the glory days of the “rag” (schmatta in Yiddish) trade, and highlights efforts to preserve what’s left of it. Monday, Oct. 19, at 9 p.m., HBO

Frontline: The WarningIn the late 1990s, Brooksley Born, head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, warned of the dangers of unregulated trading of derivatives—a practice that, left unchecked, eventually helped trigger the financial meltdown of 2008. In this report she speaks out for the first time about how her efforts were quashed by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and treasury secretaries Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Independent Lens: Butte, AmericaButte, Mont., was a copper-mining boom­-town in the late 19th century. This docu­mentary chronicles how the rapid rise of “the Pittsburgh of the West” produced vast fortunes for business barons, deadly danger for miners, and environmental havoc for its populace. It also illuminates how its fading fortunes reflect those of other American cities. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listingsMasterpiece: EndgameThis gripping political thriller takes its inspiration from secret 1988 negotiations, held in Somerset, England, intended to end apartheid in South Africa. William Hurt and Chiwetel Ejiofor are splendid as the respective representatives of white South Africa and the African National Congress. Their stellar supporting cast includes Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Derek Jacobi, Mark Strong (Body of Lies), and Clarke Peters of The Wire as Nelson Mandela. Sunday, Oct. 25, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Other highlights

Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut)The British comedy group’s heyday is chronicled in interviews with its surviving members. Monday–Friday, Oct. 18–23, at 9 p.m., IFCLiving With EdThis series about environmentally conscious living, which follows actor Ed Begley Jr. and his wife, returns for a new season. Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 9 p.m., Planet Green

Blackboards and Bullies: Are Your Kids Safe?In conjunction with National Safe Schools Week, experts talk about the causes of school violence and suggest strategies and solutions. Saturday, Oct. 24, at 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery

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