Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

The Yes Men Fix the WorldPranksters with a purpose—Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, aka the Yes Men—protest what they see as the evils of globalization. Specifically, they impersonate spokesmen and executives of multinational corporations and infiltrate conferences,­ drawing embarrassingly avid support for such Swiftian proposals as “biofuel candles” made from “climate-change victims.” In this funny film they document their mischief-making. Monday, July 27, at 9 p.m., HBOThe Ascent of Money: Planet FinanceHistorian Niall Ferguson takes a lively look at the origins of the present global economic system, in which the fortunes of nations are inextricably connected. Milestones include the establishment of federally backed lenders ­during the New Deal, deregulation in response to the inflation of the 1970s, and the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s. Today’s worldwide economic crisis threatens what Ferguson calls “Chimerica”—the vital nexus between Chinese and America that drives global economic growth. Wednesday, July 29, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Wide Angle: Contestant No. 2When an Arab-Israeli teenager sets her sights on the Miss Israel pageant, which entails a swimsuit competition, she comes into conflict with her community—the Druze, a tight-knit regional ­religious minority. Wide Angle follows her and her family as they risk disapproval so acute that it may even put her in physical danger. Wednesday, July 29, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

1939Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Of Mice and Men, Ninotchka … these films and many other classics came out in 1939, a year regarded ever since as the peak of the studio system. Kenneth Branagh hosts this look at Hollywood’s banner year, featuring commentary by critics Leonard Maltin and Molly Haskell, as well as archival interviews with directors George Cukor, Howard Hawks, and other major figures. Friday, July 31, at 10:45 a.m., Turner Classic Movies

CNN & Essence: Reclaiming the DreamFilmed July 4 at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, this forum discusses solutions to challenges facing contemporary African-Americans. Panelists include Angela Burt-Murray, editor in chief of Essence magazine; NAACP President Ben Jealous; actor and AIDS activist Sheryl Lee Ralph; Steve Perry, principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School; and radio host Steve Harvey. Soledad O’Brien moderates. Saturday, Aug. 1, at 8 p.m., CNN

Other highlights

Hair: Let the Sun Shine InArchival footage and interviews with its orginal cast and creators reveal the roots of the influential 1967 “tribal love-rock musical” Hair. Monday, July 27, at 9 p.m., Sundance Channel

Assault in the RingA look back at a fateful 1983 junior middleweight bout that ruined one boxer’s career—and landed the other in prison. Saturday, Aug. 1, at 10 p.m., HBO

Blood in the WaterA retelling of the 1916 incidents that supposedly inspired Jaws—the first multiple shark attacks in the U.S. Sunday, Aug. 2, at 9 p.m., Discovery

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