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TV highlights Jan. 12-18 

NATURE: LIFE IN DEATH VALLEY
5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

As anybody who has ever crossed Death Valley on their way from here to points west can tell you, it’s not a place you’d want to try and eke out a living. Still, as has been proven time and time again on this often-hostile planet, life makes a way. Here, cinematographers for the PBS series brave some of the harshest conditions on the planet to go in search for the creatures that call Death Valley home. Tag along to see rare creatures like the kangaroo rat, and the highly endangered Devil’s Hole pupfish, which lives only in subterranean pools of water deep below the desert floor.



AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: CITIZEN KING
8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

Looking at video footage of a youthful Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it’s hard to believe — and a measure of what we lost in Memphis in 1968 — that he would have been 75 years old this year. Here, the groundbreaking PBS series “American Experience” looks back at the last five years of King’s life, from his landmark “I have a dream” speech in 1963, to his assassination on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in 1968. Calling on historians, politicians, friends and family members for interviews, it’s sure to change minds about King and the long shadow he still casts across the American landscape.



A PATCH OF BLUE (1965)
9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 15
AMC (Comcast Ch. 31)

In 1966, Oscar saw fit to bestow six Academy Award nominations — Shelley Winters was the only winner, in the best supporting actress category — on this heartrendingly effective treatment of disability, friendship and race. Elizabeth Hartman plays Selina, a blind girl who sells beads in the park to help her poor family survive. After a mishap, she is assisted by Gordon (the incomparable Sidney Poitier), who soon becomes her friend, describing the sights of the park to her. As their friendship turns to love, however, Selina is introduced to her family’s streak of racism, with her mother and grandparents trying to pry the couple apart. Sweet, sad and ultimately satisfying, “A Patch of Blue” is a fine little film that amply showcases the great divide in 1960s America.

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