9:30 p.m. Friday, June 24
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)
For thousands of Arkansas patients facing terminal illness every year, hospice care serves as a nurturing and caring environment to spend their last days on earth. Such care can be a godsend to the families of these patients, many of them worn down by the prospect of meeting the often substantial needs of a dying loved one. Here, in a project four years in the making, AETN goes inside the day-to-day lives of those involved with the state’s 50 hospice care programs. Drawing on interviews with patients, staff and volunteers, they are able to show why — with just a little time and human compassion — the often long and painful trudge toward death doesn’t have to be a lonely one.
5 p.m. Saturday, June 25
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)
Though there was a time when China was known only for silk, pandas and those blue and white dishes your grandmother always saved for Thanksgiving dinner, these days China is a burgeoning world power. Thanks to our hunger for cheap manufactured goods — and its willingness to provide those goods — what was once an semi-industrialized backwater is now threatening to suck up the natural resources that America once found in plenty. (Gasoline and steel, for instance. In 1995, China had 200,000 cars. By last year, that number had grown to 30 million.) Here, scholars look at the future of China, and what a Communist economic giant means for the future of the Western world.
9 p.m. Sunday, June 26
USA Network (Comcast Ch. 26)
One of our favorites from last season is back. Based on the novel by Stephen King, “The Dead Zone” tells the ongoing story of John Smith, a small-town Joe who wakes from a 12-year coma to find he can see someone’s future with just a touch. Starring ’80s-nerd-grown-up Anthony Michael Hall, it’s a pretty neat ride, full of intrigue, action and smart twists on the “psychic detective” shtick. This includes an ongoing, apocalyptic subplot: Smith knows from a handshake that up-and-coming politician Greg Stillson will someday win the presidency, and then destroy the world in a fit of religious fervor (in the book, Smith dies while trying to gun down Stillson at a campaign stop). A bit wonky at times, but definitely worth a look.