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Tune In, Age Out

Immediately following The Hidden Führer is a more persuasive flashback, Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary (April 20; 8:30 to 10 p.m.; Cinemax), in which Traudl Junge, who was 22 years old when she went to work as the dictator’s private secretary in 1942, looks back and deplores her own naïveté: “I actually liked him.” This is the opposite of Hidden, which seeks to smear the blame around. Junge won’t forgive herself for ignoring signals she acknowledges having heard in passing. She took down Hitler’s last will and testament in shorthand; he was still blaming the Jews. “Blind spot” refers to many other things besides what she didn’t allow herself to see at the time and their situation underground in the bunker as the war was being lost (“life outside”). “It’s no excuse to be young,” she says. She complicates our understanding, instead of insulting it.

Nevertheless, maybe it’s time to give the swastika a rest. I used to think our prurient interest was somehow occulted. It is, instead, pornographic.


World in the Balance (April 20; 8 to 10 p.m.; Channel 13) looks at India, which is likely to overtake China in several decades as the globe’s most populous nation; Japan, where people over 60 outnumber people under 20; and sub-Saharan Africa, where far too many adults between the ages of 20 and 60 are dying of aids. A second hour zooms in on what the hyperactive Chinese economy is doing to the environment.

Dance in America (April 21; 8 to 9 p.m.; Channel 13) features a “Great Performance” by the American Ballet Theatre of what Frederick Ashton decided to do with the music Mendelssohn composed for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Ethan Stiefel as Oberon, Herman Cornejo as Puck, and Alessandra Ferri as Titania.

Love & Diane (April 21; 10 p.m. to midnight; Channel 13) lets us spend an agonizing amount of time with filmmaker Jennifer Dworkin and P.O.V. watching Diane Hazzard lose her daughter, Love, to the child-welfare system because of a crack addiction and then reclaim her life only to see Love, who is HIV-positive, in her turn lose her baby boy, Donyaeh, to the same bureaucrats, as if the family were cursed.

Just the Facts (April 22 and 23; 10 to 11 p.m.; Court TV) has a very good time letting cops talk back to Hollywood about whether movies and television programs get the details right as they go about busting perps, from Joe Friday to Andy Sipowicz to CSI to The Shield, for our entertainment.

Stealing Sinatra (April 25; 8 to 9:35 p.m.; Showtime) wants to be slap-happy about a harebrained scheme back in 1963 to kidnap Frank Sinatra Jr. and hold him for $240,000 in ransom. There is nothing wrong with the performances of David Arquette, William H. Macy, James Russo, Ryan Browning, and Thomas Ian Nicholas, but with no women, no sex, and very little violence, this project just sort of ambles along between the ears, behind the eyes, to nowhere much.


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