Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best TV programs this week

Frontline: Sick Around America
It’s well-known that 46 million Americans have no health insurance, but that’s only part of the problem. Across the country, Frontline finds in this report, under-insured Americans are contending with shrinking coverage and growing deductibles and co-pays. Other people are unable to change jobs for fear of losing coverage, or struggle to obtain insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions. Tuesday, March 31, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Independent Lens: Recycle
What sort of place breeds Islamic fundamentalism? One example is Zarqa, birthplace of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaida in Mesopotamia who was killed by a U.S. airstrike in 2006. This documentary views Jordan’s second-largest city through the eyes of a former mujahedin fighter who now recycles cardboard for a living amid a toxic milieu of poverty, political humiliation, and religious fervor. Tuesday, March 31, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings
 
The Final Inch
Vaccine has made polio a thing of the past in America and much of the developed world—but not in India. This inspiring documentary follows a few of the half-million health workers going the “final inch” to eradicate the crippling disease entirely. In an effort to vaccinate nearly 60 million children, they’re going door-to-door in some of that nation’s poorest districts. A 2009 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject. Wednesday, April 1, at 8 p.m., HBO2

Locked Up Abroad
This series of true cautionary tales about travelers unfortunate enough to wind up at the mercy of other nations’ justice systems begins its third season, in Cuzco, Peru. That’s where one unsuspecting young American wound up imprisoned after making the mistake of trusting a woman attempting to smuggle two suitcases of cocaine. Wednesday, April 1, at 10 p.m., National Geographic Channel

ER
After 15 seasons and more than 300 episodes, the Emmy- and Peabody-winning medical drama has its two-hour finale, fittingly titled “And in the End.” Many former cast members return, including Noah Wyle, whose character opens a new medical center for the underprivileged; Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) and Ernest Borgnine also guest-star. Thursday, April 2, at 9 p.m., NBC

Other highlights

NOVA: Last Extinction

Were North America’s prehistoric mammoths killed by a comet? NOVA explores a controversial new theory. Tuesday, March 31, at 8 p.m., PBS

In Treatment
The Emmy-winning drama starring Gabriel Byrne as an analyst with emotional issues of his own returns for a second season. Sunday, April 5, at 9 p.m., HBO

Global Voices
“The Dictator Hunter” documents efforts to prosecute former Chadian president Hissène Habré for killing thousands. Sunday, April 5, at 10 p.m., PBS World; check local listings

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