Gold! (August 21-24; 9 to 10 p.m.; the History Channel) moseys with Roger Mudd from the Spanish conquistadors to Hitler’s secret stash, with time out for Brazil, Africa, Francis Drake, and the Black Hills of the Dakotas, before looking for the stuff in Egyptian tombs, European banks, and myths and legends like King Midas and El Dorado.
Kindergarten (August 26; 7:30 to 8 a.m.; HBO Family) kicks off thirteen Sundays with 23 5-year-olds and their wonderful teacher, Jennifer Johnson, with whom filmmakers Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon spent a year in an Upper Nyack elementary school, where everybody learned about teeth, shyness, sharing, valentines, Martin Luther King Jr., and separation anxiety.
Marlo Thomas & Friends: Free to Be … You and Me (August 24; 8 to 9 p.m.; TV Land) is a rerun, long overdue, of the original with Mel Brooks, Roberta Flack, Alan Alda, Rita Coolidge, Harry Belafonte, Dionne Warwick, and Michael Jackson, plus, of course, That Girl.
War Zone (August 24; 9 to 10:15 p.m.; Sundance) lets Maggie Hadleigh-West talk back to the men who make comments when she walks past them on the street – by sticking a mike and a camera in their faces. They are almost all losers, and a majority of them are creeps as well.
Changing Stages (August 26, September 2 and 9; 9 to 11 p.m.; Channel 13) is director Richard Eyre’s personal take on twentieth-century theater, with candid and sometimes contrarian comments from the likes of Judi Dench, Tony Kushner, Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter, Vanessa Redgrave, Tom Stoppard, and August Wilson, plus splendid snippets. Odd, though, to see all this celebration of real time on tape.
Walking Shadow (August 26; 9 to 11 p.m.; A&E), the third outing of Joe Mantegna as Robert Parker’s private eye Spenser, and of Marcia Gay Harden as his lover Susan, involves theater people, Chinese gangs, illegal immigrants, and cops gone bad, artsied up with handheld herky-jerks and flash-forward fantasies.
Beneath the Veil (August 26; 10 to 11 p.m.; CNN) sends Saira Shah inside the Taliban terror to look with hidden cameras in the sports stadium at women being shot to death for adultery and men hanged from the goal posts for homosexuality, to visit with underground feminist revolutionaries, and to interview government officials as proud of themselves as if they were Pol Pot. Remarkable.