(November 12; 8 to 9 p.m.; Channel 13) reports on an ill-fated 1993 expedition into the smoking mouth of the Colombian volcano Galeras, where six scientists and three hikers were scalded and crushed to death after failing to read those “seismic signals” that are the basis of a new theory of magma surge.
(November 12; 10 to 11 p.m.; HBO) looks at the career and the charisma of the football player and B-movie star, while coaches, broadcasters, educators, and polemicists slap on meanings like adhesive plasters. Surprise, surprise: Between black and white, there appears to be an adjournment of minds, though no lack of rhetoric.
(November 13; 8 to 9 p.m.; Channel 13) goes beneath the surface with the help of computer animation to think high-mindedly about race, sex, and tattoos.
(November 13; 9 to 10:30 p.m.; Sundance) moseys along with notorious pothead Woody Harrelson through a hundred years of “reefer madness” laws against using marijuana while managing to suggest that much of the objection to weed is rooted in bias against such marginalized communities as Mexican laborers, black musicians, and hippies.
(November 14; 9 to 10 p.m.; Channel 13) sends Frontline correspondent Alex Kotlowitz into the marriage movement, an alliance of pols, Christian clergy, and relationship counselors who, now that the divorce rate in the Bible Belt leads the nation, suddenly see single-parent families as a pathology that’s color-blind. Many stats are quoted, few pertaining to unemployment or overcrowded schools or lousy housing and health care.
(November 15; 8 to 10 p.m.; USA), as “presented” by Dominick Dunne, had the shrewd idea of casting Christopher Meloni as the “disgraced cop” and “convicted perjurer” Mark Fuhrman, who shows up in Connecticut 22 years after the murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley to write a book. Nobody in Greenwich likes him, and neither will you. But you won’t like anyone in Greenwich, except maybe Robert Forster as a limo-driving ex-cop. So unpleasant is Meloni-Fuhrman that we are grateful every time Martha (Maggie Grace) talks to the camera that exploits her death.