SUNDAYS, May 8, 15, 22, 8pm

Bears of the Last Frontier

PBS This new special follows “bear ecologist” Chris Morgan as he films Alaska’s black, grizzly and polar bears. Part 1, on May 8, shows grizzlies in summer. Part 2, on May 15, features black bears in Anchorage and grizzlies in Denali National Park. Part 3, to air May 22, shows polar bears, hunters in Barrow and grizzlies chasing caribou.

TUESDAYS, May 10 and 17, 10pm

How the States Got Their Shapes

HISTORY These new hour-long episodes explain how transportation impacted states’ boundaries (May 10) and how forces of nature did the same (May 17).

SATURDAY, May 14, 4 and 8pm

The Pirate Code

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL The English pirate Black Sam Bellamy (b. 1689) and 144 of his 146 crewmen died the night of April 27, 1717, when their richly laden flagship, the Whydah, sank in a storm off Cape Cod. Since 1984, underwater explorer Barry Clifford has recovered more than 200,000 items from the wreck. TV-G.

TUESDAY-THURSDAY, May 17-19, 6:30pm daily

Eucharist, With Father Barron

EWTN “The Eucharist is the richest participation in the very being of the God who is nothing but love,” theologian and author Father Robert Barron has written. In this series, Father Barron, the founder of the Word on Fire evangelization ministry, explains the Eucharist as Jesus’ real presence, sacred meal and sacrifice.

WEDNESDAY, May 18, 9 and 10pm


PBS At 9pm, “Riddles of the Sphinx” spotlights archeologists as they probe who built that 45-century-old Egyptian monument. At 10pm, “Building Pharaoh’s Ship” follows archeologists as they build a life-size replica of an ancient trading ship. Re-airs.

FRIDAY, May 20, 6:30pm

Rookies in Rome

EWTN This half-hour special profiles six U.S. seminarians at the Pontifical North American College in Rome as they near ordination and then return to America to begin their priestly service. The men recall their life at the seminary and review what they have learned, both from their studies and from their interaction with members of the Church militant from all over the world. A companion 30-minute video, Hours to Ordination, to air at 6:30pm Monday, May 23, accompanies the seminarians on the eve of their holy orders.

SATURDAY, May 21, 4:30pm, live

The Preakness

NBC The 136th Preakness Stakes, the second leg of thoroughbred horse racing’s fabled Triple Crown, is the subject of this two-hour broadcast from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Commentators include Bob Costas, Tom Hammond and Donna Brothers.

Dan Engler writes from
Santa Barbara, California.