Weekly TV Picks

All times Eastern


Jackie Gleason, the Great One

A & E, 8 p.m.

If you want to learn about TV's early days, the career of Jackie Gleason (1916-1987) is a good starting point. On the “Cavalcade of Stars” comedy-variety show from 1950 to 1952, he created some of TV's most inimitable comic characters ever: The Poor Soul, Joe the Bartender, Reginald Van Gleason III and Ralph Kramden of “The Honeymooners.” Gleason was also a fine dramatic actor, as he proved in films such as The Hustler (1961) and Gigot (1962).


Jordan: The Royal Tour

Travel, 9 p.m.

Take a literal “royal tour” of this biblical land as King Abdullah II, son of the late King Hussein, visits historic sites and meets with Jordan's Palestinian and Bedouin citizens.


Surveillance: Who's Watching You

A & E, 10 p.m.

This “Investigative Reports” segment shines the spotlight on a growing trend: the videotaping of unsuspecting Americans in offices and public places by government agents, law enforcement, banks and employers. Reporters interview law officers, surveillance experts, privacy advocates and privacy-invasion victims.


Secret Life of the Crash-Test Dummy

History Channel, 10 p.m.

They might give way to computer simulations soon, but for the last half-century crash-test dummies have outlasted countless collisions and given scientists and safety experts invaluable data on how best to protect humans in autos, airplanes and other vehicles.


Action Heroes: Lewis and Clark

Biography Channel, 8 p.m.

Come exploring with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their 8,000-mile journey to Oregon and back (1804-1806). Share their discoveries and perils, and meet their invaluable Shoshone teenage interpreter and guide Sacagawea, her husband Toussaint Charbonneau and their baby Jean Baptiste. (By the way, Sacagawea and Jean Baptiste appear on the new U.S. $1 coin — the first-ever depiction of a mother and baby on a U.S. coin.)


Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends but the Mountains

PBS, 9 p.m.

This documentary takes viewers inside a major conflict that most Americans know nothing about. For a decade, the United States has protected Kurds living in Saddam Hussein's Iraq with a no-fly zone, but has abandoned Kurds in Turkey — a key U.S. ally — to U.S.-armed Turks’ attacks on rebels and villages. The film says a leading rebel group, the PKK, has largely dropped its Marxist aims. Advisory: Some photos of war casualties and of victims of atrocities by both sides.


Popular Mechanics for Kids

Discovery, 11:30 a.m.

This inventive program combines fun with learning as it teaches mechanical principles and shows how to put machines and gadgets together, keep them going and fix them.

Dan Engler writes from Santa Barbara, California.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.