2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5
The History Channel (Comcast Ch. 70)
Why the History Channel chose to stick this one in the middle of the day on Thursday, where only retirees, flu sufferers and kids playing hooky from school will get a chance to see it, we’ll never know. Still, for all you blessed with TiVo, here goes: While lots of Norte Americanos know that there’s a Mexican holiday called Cinco De Mayo, not many could probably tell you why. The reason behind it is actually something near and dear to all of us: Mexicans don’t like the French any more than we do. That is: On the sweltering day of May 5, 1862, in Puebla, Mexico, the badly outnumbered Mexican Army — mostly green recruits and some Indian volunteers — managed to beat the tar out of the invading French army, then considered the best trained and equipped force in the world. Tune in for the whole story.
8 p.m. Thursday, May 5
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)
Back in the good old days, just because you had the word “Republican” next to your elected title, that didn’t necessarily make you a bad guy. We’re rather fond of Abraham Lincoln, for instance. Even Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex. By our way of thinking, though, the GOP has taken the wrong path in recent years. That’s part of the reason why we have a lot of respect for Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller. The first Republican governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction, Rockefeller met the claims of those who called him a carpetbagger head on, proving himself as one of the most compassionate, progressive, pro-Arkansas governors in state history. Tune in to hear the legend of this true political giant.
5 p.m. Saturday, May 7
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: What do a Mississippi divorce and an Arkansas tornado have in common? No matter what happens, somebody’s going to lose a trailer. All yuks aside, tornadoes are dangerous business, especially in the twister-prone swath of real-estate called “Tornado Alley.” Even more rare and deadly is one of nature’s greatest displays of power: the F5 tornado. Often over a mile wide with winds topping 200 miles per hour, these supertwisters turn everything in their path into kindling. Here, Nova photographers go in search of the F5 in the flatlands of America, getting some hair-raising footage in the process. Also, researchers show how next-generation supercomputers and digital technology are finally giving us a glimpse inside these swirling killers.