What's on TV


Saturday 6/1

Adoption (Hallmark Channel, 8-9:30 p.m.): Tracking the stories of families that try to adopt children, this series keeps up a steady suspense. It's unpredictable and neither sentimental nor pessimistic. The characters are real and fascinating, and their goodness of heart is awe-inspiring: Anyone who doubts that there is great goodness in the world should see this. (The series' second installment follows on Sunday, 8-9 p.m.)

Sunday 6/2

The Hamptons (ABC, 9-11 p.m., continues June 3 at the same time): A reality miniseries that looks at how a few highly privileged individuals live during the summer in the Hamptons. Two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple ("Harlan County, U.S.A.") takes up with author Steven Gaines ("Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons") and swingers, wannabes, celebrities, innocents, professionals, entrepreneurs, locals, and hustlers. Kopple is an excellent filmmaker, but not even she can rise above her material. At first, it's interesting, but ultimately disheartening, to see so many lead shallow lives. Maybe that's the point.

Biography – The Mary Tyler Moore Show (A&E, 8-10 p.m.): It earned 29 Emmys, and TV buffs remember it fondly. It was feminism for the masses – funny, smart, and inoffensive. The show feeds into the nostalgia TV trend.

Tuesday 6/4

Boston 24/7 (ABC, 10-11 p.m., continues June 5, 6, 7, 11, 12): The six-part documentary is a hard-hitting vision of a city and the everyday heroes who try to maintain justice and stop violence. A prosecutor has so much empathy for the victims of crime, she has to hold back tears. A fireman, a high school principle, an E.R. doctor, a child advocate – all these and many more work selflessly for the common good in a tough town.

Thursday 6/6

Ben Shahn: Passion for Justice (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings): Ben Shahn was dismissed as a "mere illustrator" in the world of high art in the '50s and '60s. It was a bum rap for an artist whose compositions still project power and character, whose visual wit undermined social pretensions, and who cared deeply for the ordinary citizen. We hear from his widow, his grown children, and even from Ben himself in interviews done years ago. This is an inspiring documentary, revelatory about a famous artist who, like many before him, was dismissed by critics, but loved by the public.

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