This Guy Is Falling (Sundance Channel, 10:30-11 p.m.): This animated/live-action comic love story asks, "Can love survive the end of the world?" Of course it can. Innovative visual storytelling, expressive writing, and sly wit make this short film a blast.
A Texas Funeral (Starz! 8-10 p.m.): Martin Sheen stars as the recently deceased patriarch of the eccentric Whit family. He has certain things he must mend before he departs the earth, and can communicate only to his young grandson, who refuses to speak. The comic drama is really about healing family dissensions. Offbeat; for mature audiences.
This Week in History (The History Channel, 9-10 p.m. every Friday): Making history come alive in a news-magazine format is the point of this well-made series. In this season premire, the raising of the Berlin Wall and the story of the workers who built the Panama Canal, among other true tales, are presented with gripping archival footage and eyewitness accounts. Excellent family viewing.
Backstory (AMC, weekly at 5:30 p.m.): Film buffs will enjoy this pleasant series that documents the all-too-human stories behind the great films. Unlike so much of the scandal-mongering Hollywood generates, these films tell how the films were made, how the actors and directors got involved, and what the films have meant to film history. "Bonnie and Clyde" kicks off the series.
The Thin Blue Lie (Showtime, 8-9:40 p.m.): Rob Morrow ("Northern Exposure") stars as investigative reporter Jonathan Neumann who uncovered widespread organized police brutality in Philadelphia in the mid-1970s. The true story is not as carefully detailed as it might have been, but the urgent human motives behind both the reporter's Pulitzer Prize-winning efforts and the cops' own vigilante justice are riveting. In light of recent allegations about police departments around the country, the film is timely and thoughtful.
Intimate Portrait: Holly Hunter (Lifetime, 7-8 p.m.): This fine series continues with the story of one of Hollywood's most versatile actors. Hunter grew up on a farm in Georgia, went on to graduate from Carnegie-Mellon, and established herself as a stage actor before starring in "Raising Arizona" and "The Piano."
The Darkling (USA, 9-11 p.m.): A cautionary thriller about a man who is tempted by envy to sell his soul for wealth. But sin has its heavy price, and nothing that evil offers is ever worth that cost. Speculative fiction, mildly entertaining.
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