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5 Best Things to Watch on TV This Week: Spike Lee Does Michael Jackson, R. Kelly Does… Himself?

5 Best Things to Watch on TV This Week: Spike Lee Does Michael Jackson, R. Kelly Does... Himself?

Sure, Sunday is incredibly overcrowded with high-end TV, including “Homeland,” “The Walking Dead,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Good Wife,” “Treme” and “Dexter,” but what to watch the rest of the time? Every Monday, we bring you five noteworthy highlights from the other six days of the week.

“The Dust Bowl”: Reaping the Whirlwind
Monday, November 19 at 8pm on PBS

The second half of Ken Burns’ excellent latest doc series about the 1930s ecological disaster that devasted the Great Plains, displacing hundreds of thousands of people who were forced to leave their homes in search of new means of survival. Burns combines archival footage with interviews from survivors of the era to create an wrenching portrait of the era. You can watch part one of the documentary online courtesy of PBS here.

“American Masters”: “Inventing David Geffen”
Tuesday, November 20 at 8pm on PBS

The reclusive entertainment mogul David Geffen offers up a rare look into his life in this episode of the PBS series “American Masters.” Susan Lacy’s episode explores the life and career of the “ruthlessly honest” power player, touching on everything from his days in the record industry working with Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash and Jackson Browne to his co-founding of DreamWorks and ventures into Broadway.

Thanksgiving Marathons
Thursday, November 22

A selection of turkey day TV watching possibilities: SyFy‘s doing Bond; ESPN Classic‘s got “Friday Night Lights”; AMC‘s marathoning “The Godfather” and “The Godfather: Part II”; BBC America has season seven of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”; History is reairing its hit “Hatfields & McCoys”; The Hub is going with “ALF” and TCM is airing a night of family comedies starting with the 1950 “Cheaper by the Dozen.”

Bad 25”: Broadcast Premiere
Thursday, November 22 at 9:30pm on ABC

Having gotten a small theatrical release after premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Spike Lee’s doc about the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s 1987 album “Bad” is being given a Thanksgiving Day broadcast premiere on ABC. The film includes interviews with Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Cee Lo Green, Martin Scorsese, Stevie Wonder and more. Lee, who directed the video for Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us,” pays particular attention to the music videos the album spawned at a time when the form was in its prime.

Trapped in the Closet”: “The Saga Continues”
Friday, November 23 at 9pm on IFC

R. Kelly’s hip hopera returns with its first new chapters since 2007 on IFC. Kelly has promised that Rufus, Gwendolyn, Big Man and Rosie will be back to participate in this tangled web of sung soap operatics, with new characters appearing as well. IFC’s offering a chance to catch up on the original saga with a digitally remaster airing of the chapters thus far at 7pm.

Also worth a look: “Fringe” is currently in its final season on Fox, but you can relive the J. J. Abrams show from the start when it kicks off its syndicated run on the Science Channel on Tuesday, November 20th at 8pm; Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Reiner guest star as Jess’ (Zooey Deschanel) divorced parents on “New Girl” on Tuesday, November 20th at 9pm on Fox; USA Network’s spy series “Covert Affairs” ends its third season with an episode directed by Renny Harlin on Tuesday, November 20th at 10pm; IFC’s reality show about competitive beard growers “Whisker Wars” returns for a second season on Friday, November 24th at 10pm; and Lucas Cruikshank — yes, Fred — parlays his internet celebrity into a new lead role in the Nickelodeon series “Marvin Marvin,” premiering Saturday, November 24th at 8:30pm.

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