Sure, Sunday is overcrowded with high-end TV like “True Blood,” “The Newsroom,” “Weeds,” “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.
“Vito” (Broadcast Premiere)
Monday, July 23 at 9pm on HBO
This documentary about Vito Russo, the LGBT activist, film scholar, GLAAD co-founder and author of “The Celluloid Closet,” comes to HBO after having made its premiere at the 2011 New York Film Festival. “Vito” features archival interviews with Russo as well as appearances from fellow activists like Larry Kramer, cinema scholar Jon Gartenberg, journalist Michael Schiavi and friends like Lily Tomlin and Bruce Vilanch. Check out our interview with director Jeffrey Schwarz at the Film Society of Lincoln Center last year:
“Absolutely Fabulous”: “Olympics”
Wednesday, July 25 at 10pm on BBC America
Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina (Jennifer Saunders) reunite for the last of four new 20th anniversary specials featuring our two favorite fashionistas. This one is fittingly Olympic-themed, with Edina decided to rent her house out for the Games while still living there with Saffy (Julia Sawalha), Mother (June Whitfield) and Bubble (Jane Horrocks). Stella McCartney appears as herself, as does gold medalist Kelly Holmes.
Weighing almost 300 pounds, Cheryl Haworth is an Olympic weightlifter making her way in a sport traditionally associated with men. At 17, she competed in and won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, the first Games to include a women’s weightlifting event. This documentary by Julie Wyman closes out the 2011-12 Independent Lens season with a portrait of an athlete and a woman trying to decide what’s next in her life now that her days of competition are coming to an end.
Opening Ceremonies of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games
Friday, July 27 at 7:30pm on NBC
While NBC’s going to be airing most of the Olympic events live either online or on-air throughout the Games, the Danny Boyle-directed opening ceremonies will be tape-delayed and aired in primetime on Friday night. Rumor has it that the lavish event will include nods to Shakespeare, the Queen, James Bond, sheep, the National Health Service, Harry Potter and Paul McCartney — fitting, as Beijing’s lavish 2008 extravaganza, helmed by Zhang Yimou, set the bar awfully high.
Syfy has remade the 1984 cult classic (which it claims, amusingly, is “based on actual events”) about a U.S. military experiment intended to render a ship invisible to radar that instead resulted in time travel. This time Malcolm McDowell and Nicholas Lea (of “The X-Files) are the leads, with original star Michael Paré appearing in a role as a villain and the Reagan jokes presumably updated to something a little more timely.
Also worth a look: “Alphas,” Syfy’s superpowers series, returns for a second season Monday, July 23rd at 10pm; TCM is running a 24-hour marathon tribute to Ernest Borgnine that kicks off with 1956’s “The Catered Affair” on Thursday, July 26th at 6am; POV documentary “Up Heartbreak Hill,” following two teenage track stars living on a Navajo reservation, makes its broadcast premiere on PBS on Thursday, July 26th at 10pm; William Shatner explores “Star Trek” fandom in the doc “Get a Life!,” airing on Epix Saturday, July 28th at 8pm.