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TV highlights June 15-22 

NATURE: KATRINA’S
ANIMAL RESCUE
5 p.m. Saturday, June 17
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

Because the human tragedy wrought by Hurricane Katrina was massive in scope, it was easy to forget that the storm took a toll on the animal residents of the Gulf Coast as well. Though the final tally will never be known, it’s easy to assume that hundreds of thousands of pets and other animals were displaced or killed by the storm and its aftermath. Here, film crews from “Nature” venture into the hurricane zone in the days after Katrina to capture the poignant and painful non-human side of the tragedy. Included are the story of a dog that stayed on a rooftop for a week with no food and only sludge-filled water to drink, and four dolphins washed out to sea from the Gulfport, Miss., Marine Life Oceanarium and their rescue by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


FRONTLINE: THE DARK SIDE
8 p.m. Tuesday, June 20
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

Sure, George W. might be president, but it’s no real secret who the Evil Emperor in this administration is. From the start, Vice President Dick Cheney has wielded power that goes far beyond the “hurry up and wait” job description of past VPs. With tentacles that stretch far into the military-industrial complex and the similarly nefarious petroleum industry, ol’ Dick and his band of neo-con cronies have been the architects of most of the administration’s disastrous foreign policy decisions, including the “liberation” of Iraq and its sweet, sweet crude. “Frontline” explores the life and times of Dick Cheney — his rise to the head of multibillion-dollar Halliburton Corp., his relationships with Donald Rumsfeld and former CIA director George Tenet, and Cheney’s strange, behind-the-scenes role as the muscle behind George W. Bush.


RONIN (1998)
4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 18
American Movie Classics (Comcast Ch. 31)

While Hollywood seems hung up on superheroes and spandex when it comes to action movies these days, not even the most powerful comic book blowhard stands a chance against the 1998 action classic “Ronin.” Named after a class of masterless samurai in ancient Japan, it’s the story of a group of mercenary former spies — unemployed thanks to the official end of the Cold War — who assemble to track down a mysterious package in the capitals of Europe. An all-star cast is headed by the incomparable Robert De Niro, who is — as always — pitch perfect as the mysterious leader Sam. A lightning-paced and stunningly effective action movie (including the best car chase since “The French Connection”), “Ronin” is a must see for fans of both the spy and shoot-’em-up genres.

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