Top Picks: National Geographic's 'Kingdom of the Apes,' Ovation's new series 'Young Marvels,' and more

Filmmaker Niko van Glasow explores the world of the Paralympics in the PBS documentary 'My Way to Olympia,' the HBO documentary 'Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus' looks at the struggles of a theater group trying to stage political performances in Belarus, and more top picks.

Young Marvels

Artistic prodigies

A 12-part series from Ovation, Young Marvels follows eight prodigies and their impressive focus to master dance, musical instruments, and more. Viewers will meet an 8-year-old who speaks eight languages, an 11-year-old opera singer, and a 12-year-old cellist attending Juilliard in New York, among others. Their parents help to nurture their immense talent and balance high-level stress. The docuseries begins July 16 at 10 p.m. EDT.  

Political theater

In the HBO documentary Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus, directed by Madeleine Sackler, the Belarus Free Theatre is determined to stage a political performance. However, as members of the company are persecuted by what they believe is the KGB and some are forced to flee the country, the troupe must decide if they can continue with their art. Viewer discretion is advised. The film airs July 7 at 9 p.m. 

Change of heart

Before creating the PBS documentary My Way to Olympia, filmmaker Niko von Glasow, who is disabled, wasn’t a fan of Paralympic sports. He decides to visit various Paralympic athletes to investigate the competition. He meets an archer who shoots the bow with his feet and a female table tennis player with one arm, among others, and finds his ideas about the Paralympics being changed. The film features some adult language. It airs July 7 at 10 p.m. 

Help for teens

Through the Showtime documentary Kidnapped for Christ, director Kate Logan shines a light on the lack of American government regulation for teen correctional facilities. In the film, she visits Escuela Caribe, a Christian reform school now closed, that housed American students in the Dominican Republic. Logan hopes to inspire legislation to be passed. (Legislation has been introduced in Congress but so far has not been made law.) The documentary airs July 10 at 7:30 p.m. 

Gorilla pack

Jane Goodall will introduce National Geographic’s Kingdom of the Apes, a fascinating look into the social structures of gorilla packs in the Rwandan mountains. The clash between the oldest male, Titus, and his son, Rano, is a true story of the fight for leadership within the gorilla community. The show highlights the remarkable similarities between gorilla conflicts and human power struggles. It airs on Nat Geo Wild on July 13 at 9 p.m.

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