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by Alison Willmore
October 2, 2012 9:21 AM
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20 Must-See Docs Making Their TV Premieres This October

PBS 'Give Up Tomorrow'

October is big month for television -- the broadcast networks continue to roll our their new fall shows and familiar returning ones while cable channels like HBO and Showtime are in full swing with series like "Boardwalk Empire," "Treme," "Dexter" and "Homeland." In terms of sports, we're almost in MLB postseason, the NBA season starts on the 30th and we're a month in for the NFL. And when it comes to documentaries, this October offers an embarrassment of riches, with ESPN relaunching its "30 for 30" series, PBS hosting its third year of its "Voces" program showcases Latino artists, athletes and performers and more on other networks. Here's our guide to the docs making their TV premieres this month.

"Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?"
Tuesday, October 2 at 7pm ET/4pm PT on Link TV

Frances Causey and Donald Goldmacher's film explores the roots of our current economic crisis, starting with Ronald Reagan and continuing through subsequent administrations and policy shifts that favored corporate interests above those of the larger population up through to the recent Occupy movement. Using the structure of a political thriller, "Heist" calls into question the current structure of our economy and serves as a warning for the future. The film will also be streamed online at our sister site SnagFilms.

"Broke"
Tuesday, October 2 at 8pm ET/5pm PT on ESPN

This new documentary from "Cocaine Cowboys" director Billy Corben kicks off "30 for 30 II" with a look at how many pro athletes end up out of cash only a few years after retirement. Corben interviews former stars like Jamal Mashburn, Bernie Kosar, and Andre Rison to delve into how big a role an athlete's competitive psychology plays in how they fare off the field.

"Give Up Tomorrow"
Thursday, October 4 at 8pm on PBS

Filmmakers Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco tell a riveting and personal tale of an outrageous injustice in "Give Up Tomorrow," which airs as part of "POV." The doc follows the case of Paco Larrañaga, a teenager from a political family in the Philippines who's accused of a double murder despite evidence that proves he was nowhere near the scene of the crime. The film exposes a judicial system afflicted with shocking corruption and unfairness.

"Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007"
Friday, October 5 at 8pm on Epix

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise, Epix is premiering their original doc about 007's backstory, including a look at how Ian Fleming's spy stories were transferred to the big screen and how producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman shaped one of cinema's most enduring characters.

"Escaramuza: Riding From the Heart"
Friday, October 5 at 10pm on PBS

Airing as part of PBS' monthlong "Voces" doc series celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, "Escaramuza" explores the world of charreada, a competitive rodeo-style event that originated in Mexico. The film follows Escaramuza Charra Las Azaleas, a team of first-generation Mexican American horsewomen, on a journey to represent California and the United States at the National Charro Championships in Mexico.

"As Goes Janesville"
Monday, October 8th at 10pm on PBS

The 2012-2013 season of PBS doc series Independent Lens kicks off on its new night with this film about Janesville, Wisconsin, a town devastated by the shutting of teh Janesville Assembly Plant — the oldest General Motors plant in all of North America. As local politicians tried to woo new businesses to the town, the thousands of laid-off employees looked for solutions. In 2010, Scott Walker becomes governor on the strength of his “budget repair bill” and plan to restrict the collective bargaining rights of public employees. Directed by Brad Lichtenstein ("Almost Home"), "As Goes Janesville" uses its Midwestern town as a parable for cities across the country.

"9.79*"
Tuesday, October 9 at 8pm ET/5pm PT on ESPN

Directed by Daniel Gordon ("A State of Mind"), this "30 for 30" doc examines the controversy that surrounded the 100 meter race at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul and that still haunts its participants today. The race brought together famous rivals Carl Lewis (USA) and Ben Johnson (Canada), but Johnson's win was taken away from him after he failed a drug test. The film questions whether or not Johnson was the fall guy for more widespread doping -- six of the eight finalists in the race have since been implicated for drugs.

"Cave of Forgotten Dreams"
Thursday, October 11 at 9pm on History

Unless you have a fancy TV, Werner Herzog's film about France's Chauvet Cave is not going to loom in 3D in home viewing, but it's still worth catching. The film examines the paintings of pictures of animals preserved inside the limestone cave, created tens of thousands of years ago and inaccessible to the public, making this doc a rare glimpse at life in an ancient time. 

"Unfinished Spaces"
Friday, October 12 at 10pm on PBS

From directors Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray, this 2011 "Voces" film is centered on three young architects were commissioned by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara to create Cuba's National Art Schools in Havana in 1961, an ambitious project that was never finished, construction halted after it was deemed politically irrelevant. 40 years later, Castro invites the exiled architects back to finish the project.

"There's No Place Like Home"
Tuesday, October 16 at 8pm ET/5pm PT on ESPN

Directors Maura Mandt and Josh Swade trace what happens when one of the most important artifacts in the history of sports is put up for sale. This "30 for 30" doc follows one man's quest to win James Naismith's original rules of basketball when the document's put up for aution by Sotheby's in 2010, hoping to bring it back to Lawrence, Kansas, where Naismith taught and coached for over four decades.

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