One Night at the Grand Star (May 4; 10 to 10:30 p.m.; Channel 13) visits the 60-year-old restaurant in L.A.’s Chinatown where the downstairs music is jazz, the upstairs music contemporary dance, the crowds in both places multiracial, multiethnic, uni-laid-back. Followed by Double Exposure (10:30 to 11 p.m.), in which sixtyish multimedia artist Kit-Yin Snyder visits China for the first time since she left at 15 and brings back sharp opinions and “abstract video landscapes.”
In the Wake of War (Wednesdays at 9 p.m., beginning May 5; Sundance) begins a four-week series with In This World, Michael Winterbottom’s account of two Afghan cousins trying to smuggle themselves to London via Pakistan and Iran. Followed by Samira Makhmalbaf’s At Five in the Afternoon, about a young woman in Kabul who infuriates her father by secretly attending a new secular girls’ school; Pjer Zalica’s Fuse, in which a Bosnian village must turn itself into a model of peace and reconciliation in time for a visit from Bill Clinton and an investment windfall; and Emily Young’s Kiss of Life, about an aid worker in Yugoslavia.
Searching for Asian America (May 5; midnight to 1:30 a.m.; Channel 13) profiles Gary Locke, elected to two terms as governor of Washington state, whose population is only 6 percent Asian-American; Martin Bautista and Jeffrey Lim, two Filipino doctors who ended up after medical school in Guymon, Oklahoma; and Lela Lee, the Berkeley-grad cartoonist whose short films featuring an “angry little Asian girl” raise hackles and shoot down stereotypes.
My Flesh and Blood (May 9; 6:30 to 8 p.m.; HBO) spends twelve months with Susan Tom in Fairfield, California, where she matter-of-factly mothers eleven adopted children variously afflicted with cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, leglessness, etc., except they’re one big raucous family.
Life on Liberty Street (May 9; 9 to 11 p.m.; Hallmark) is worth it just for Annabeth Gish, of whom I’ve been fond since Mystic Pizza, as a principled single-mother nurse who must serve out a hospital suspension at a rehab halfway house, where she copes with not only Ethan Embry, a young man with brain damage, but his father, Ed Begley Jr., who is full of secret guilt and bad faith.