TV highlights 

THE CLOSER 8 p.m. Monday, July 25 TNT (Comcast Ch. 29) Though we never quite get used to Yankee actors butchering Southern accents (they all tend to end up sounding like either Scarlett O’Hara or Karl from “Sling Blade,” no matter what part of Dixie they’re supposed to be from), one faux-cracker accent that we’ve been willing to tolerate recently is the one spouted by actress Kyra Sedgwick in TNT’s great new series “The Closer.” Sedgwick plays Brenda Leigh Johnson, an Atlanta police detective who uproots to lead the LAPD’s Priority Homicide Division. With fresh riffs on sex, class and crime, it’s gelling up to be a winner. IFC TV When sitting at home in my smoking jacket and fez, feet up, martini in hand and channel pegged on the Independent Film Channel, I sometimes feel for the little people. You know: those without IFC (Comcast Digital does, to their credit, include the even rarer and just as cool Sundance Channel). A jewel of the telesphere, IFC is the channel of channels for true film buffs, showing edgy, smart and uncut independent films that you really and truly can’t see anywhere else. This month, the array is just as amazing as ever: “Henry’s Film Corner.” “Gods and Monsters.” “Sexy Beast.” “Jackie Brown.” “The Legend of 1900.” The list goes on. Bottom line: Call Comcast. Demand your IFC. You’ll be much happier. WHALE RIDER (2002) 8 p.m. Sunday, July 24 AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2) Television, though a vast cultural wasteland, can still take you places both physically and emotionally. Case in point: the poignant and beautiful “Whale Rider.” Here, Pailea (Keisha Castle-Hughes), a modern-day Maori girl from New Zealand, has a vision: She is supposed to rise to be the leader of her people, fulfilling the destiny her grandfather believes was reserved for her twin brother, who died at birth. The title refers to a legend that the Maori’s greatest leader will ride a whale, recreating the feat of an ancient hero. Garnering Castle-Hughes a Best Actress Oscar nomination, “Whale Rider” is a genuinely touching coming-of-age story about tradition, dreams and the need for change if native peoples are to survive in the always-uncertain future.


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