Sept. 23 — Oct. 2, 7 p.m.
AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)
It's been 17 years since filmmaker Ken Burns' landmark “The Civil War” changed the way we think about historical documentaries, but the series can still move hearts and minds. Now — after spending the intervening decade and a half cranking out big-picture documentaries on jazz and baseball — Burns turns his unique style of filmmaking on another great conflict of American history: World War II. In this seven-part, 14-hour behemoth, Burns explores the sacrifice, sorrow and triumph of the war as seen through the eyes of residents and servicemen from four American towns: Waterbury, Conn., Mobile, Ala., Sacramento, Calif., and tiny Luverne, Minn. It's sure to be a film that ignites discussion, debate, and some serious reflection. With narration by Tom Hanks, Josh Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson, and others.
7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3
KTHV/CBS (Comcast Ch. 10, Broadcast Ch. 11)
In his 1729 pamphlet “A Modest Proposal,” the satirist Jonathan Swift suggested that poor Irishfolk might rise from poverty if only they'd sell their children off as food for upper-crust Englishmen. These days, we've got something like that, only our version involves renting our tykes to a major television network, in order to feed the skull holes of middle-class couch potatoes. But seriously folks, we've seen the first episode of the new reality show Kid Nation, and we're here to say that other than the child labor violations, psychological damage and horrendously dangerous living conditions, it's a hoot. In a nutshell: 40 kids are shipped off to a desert ghost town for 40 days and told to make their own society without the input of adults. After every episode, one of them gets $20,000. Of course, given that these are human beings — albeit young ones — the first order of business was to figure out who's going to be cleaning the toilets and who's going to be dining by candlelight on foie gras (is it any surprise that the best looking kids end up making all the rules?). This week: Piggy gets killed with a rock for his fire-giving spectacles.