Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

Trauma
Set in San Francisco, this engaging new series follows first responders who deal with physical traumas and are haunted by an emotional one of their own—an on-the-job accident that killed seven people. Cliff Curtis plays a reckless flight medic, and Anastasia Griffith (Damages) stands out as a brittle paramedic. Several large-scale action set pieces enliven the elaborately produced premiere. Monday, Sept. 28, at 9 p.m., NBC

Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel
Eight American high school football players have died of head injures during the past two years, according to Gumbel’s lead report on the disturbing frequency of such concussions among young athletes. Dozens more have suffered serious injuries on the playing field. Other segments look at Olympic athlete Cullen Jones’ efforts to promote swimming among African-Americans, the decline of newspapers’ sports sections, and dogfighting. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m., HBO

Explorer: Climbing Redwood Giants
In conjunction with this month’s National Geographic magazine cover story, Explorer studies the world’s tallest trees. Cameras follow conservationist Mike Fay on an 11-month, 1,800-mile trek through the entire redwood range, and also highlight the research of Steve Sillett, the first scientist to climb into redwood canopies and study firsthand their complex, hidden ecosystems. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 10 p.m., National Geographic Channel

The Suspenseful World of Thrillers
More than a run-of-the-mill clip show, this documentary is a thoughtful history and analysis of the venerable film genre of suspense, from such jaunty Hitchcock classics as North by Northwest to the paranoid Manchurian Candidate. Interviewees include author Ken Follett, director Kenneth Branagh, and North by Northwest villain Martin Landau. Friday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m., TCM

Three Rivers
Yet another medical drama enters the prime-time fray, this one set at a Pittsburgh hospital that specializes in organ transplants. The premiere, in which a young basketball star needs a heart replacement, is mercifully short on treacle and provides a surprise or two. The ensemble includes Alex O’Loughlin (the vampire detective in Moonlight) and Julia Ormond. Sunday, Oct. 4, at 9 p.m., CBS

Other highlights

Planet Mechanics
In Spain, the eco-friendly Planet Mechanics harness wind power to help a farmer pump water from his well. Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 9 p.m., Planet Green

Hank
The recession is reflected in this new situation comedy: Kelsey Grammer plays a former Manhattan CEO who moves his family to his small Virginia hometown after losing his job. Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m., ABC

Nature’s Greatest Defender
Cameras follow biologist George Schaller to Alaska to assess the effects of global warming, and to Africa, where he did groundbreaking work on mountain gorillas. Saturday, Oct. 3, at 10 p.m., National Geographic Channel

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