TV highlights Nov. 3 

9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5
A&E (Comcast Ch. 51)

On the first day after the creation of the universe, it’s a sure bet somebody sold somebody else a little bit of tail. Soon after that, we’re equally certain, the more uptight members of the community began trying to find ways to curtail or limit prostitution. For many cities throughout history, the answer has been to herd the sex trade into official or unofficial red light districts, where those looking for such services could go to find a good time. Here, A&E takes viewers on a tour of some of the world’s most notorious tenderloin districts and talks about why these places where sex is for sale still exist in the modern age. Included are red light districts in Thailand, Israel, Nevada, Moscow, Cuba, Miami and the secretive realm of Japan’s geisha, sought as much for their conversation and wit as for what they can do between the sheets.

8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

While a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion has so far been upheld by the highest court in the land, the nomination of two new Supreme Court justices by George W. Bush has brought into focus the possibility that the precarious balance that has thus far spared Roe v. Wade might soon be tipped in favor of the anti-abortion movement. Given that, it might be a good time to examine this most divisive of issues, with an eye toward understanding how an iron-clad right to choose has been chipped away over the years by various state and federal decisions. Frontline uses the springboard of Mississippi — where state-level lawmaking and street-level harassment have led to the closure of all but one abortion clinic — to talk about the larger issue of the anti-abortion movement, abortion rights, and why facing the danger of a back-alley abortion might become a reality for yet another generation.

9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

With the news last week that America had finally crossed the terrible threshold of 2,000 soldiers killed in Iraq (a figure which doesn’t even scratch the surface of the tens of thousands who have been wounded), the numbers are finally getting too big to grasp. It’s good, then, that the fine documentary series “Independent Lens” chose this week to debut “A Family at War.” Bringing the debate down to the level of individual families instead of vast, cold numbers, “A Family at War” focuses on the frustration and anger of a widow and the parents of a young soldier killed in Iraq. Dealing — as all such families must — with issues of patriotism, grief and whether their loved one died in vain, it’s sure to be a powerhouse of emotion.


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