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5 Best Things to Watch on TV This Week: ‘Portlandia’ and Carol Channing

5 Best Things to Watch on TV This Week: 'Portlandia' and Carol Channing

Sure, Sunday is overcrowded with high-end TV like “True Blood,” “The Newsroom,” “Weeds,” the just-returned “Breaking Bad” and “Political Animals,” but what to watch the rest of the time? Each Monday, we bring you this guide to five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week.

“Carol Channing: Larger Than Life” (Broadcast Premiere)
Monday, July 16 at 6:30pm on Showtime 

This adoring portrait of the now 91-year-old and still-ebullient musical star best known for originating the title role in “Hello, Dolly!” is the latest showbiz-themed documentary from Dori Berinstein (“Gotta Dance”). The film follows Carol Channing as she prepares for the Kennedy Center Honors salute to composer Jerry Herman between flashes back to her early career, rise to fame, most famous roles and signature songs and the ups and downs of her personal life.

“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” (Broadcast Premiere)
Monday, July 16 at 10pm on HBO 

Lucy Walker (“Devil’s Playground,” “Waste Land”) nabbed her second Oscar nomination for this short documentary about survivors of the Japanese tsunami. With a soundtrack by Moby and striking home video footage of the storm, this film offers a look at the process of learning to rebuild in the aftermath of a major tragedy.

Reviewing the film here at Indiewire, Eric Kohn found that it is “especially remarkable for the way assembles a series of downbeat memories into the slightest hint of optimism for the survivors’ abilities to make it through each new day.” Airs after “Birders: The Central Park Effect,” at 9pm.

“Misfits” (U.S. Broadcast Premiere)
Thursday, July 19 at 10pm on Logo

What happens when a group of juvenile delinquents assigned to community service is given a range of special powers after a freak storm? This clever UK series subverts the usual superhero tropes by having talents like mind-reading, invisibility and the capacity to turn back time reflect the personal issues of the kids who develop them, teenagers who are more concerned with getting laid and getting by than saving the world.

“Portlandia: The Brunch Special”
Friday, July 20 at 11pm on IFC 

The hipster sketch comedy show isn’t due back for a new season — its third — until January, but IFC’s broadcasting an hour-long “Portlandia” special named for every urbanite’s favorite combination weekend meal to tide fans over.

“The Brunch Special” will feature a director’s cut of season two finale “Brunch Village” along with making-of footage that includes guest appearances from chef Bobby Flay, “Saturday Night Live” chief Lorne Michaels and Kyle MacLachlan.

“Bouquet of Barbed Wire”: Series Premiere
Saturday, July 21 at 10pm ET on Ovation 

This controversial three-part British series is the second adaptation of the 1969 novel by Andrea Newman — the first, made in 1976, starred Susan Penhaligon and Frank Finlay. This new update has Imogen Poots in the role of daughter Prue, who gets pregnant by her teacher Gavin (Tom Riley) and faces the obsessive jealousy (verging on incestuous) of her father Peter (Trevor Eve).

Also worth a look: “Eureka,” Syfy’s series about Sheriff Jack Carter’s (Colin Ferguson) adventures keeping order in a small town entirely populated by geniuses and scientists, comes to an end Monday, July 16th at 9pm; POV documentary “The Light in Her Eyes,” shot just before the uprising in Syria erupted and about women studying Islam, airs on PBS on Thursday, July 19th at 10pm.

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