Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine (November 11; 8 to 9 p.m.; Channel 13) comes from those playful folks at Nova, who will, after preliminary tests of gliders, launch a replica of a Wright 1911 Model B into the wild blue yonder.
Be Good, Smile Pretty (November 11; 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.; Channel 13) follows Tracy Droz Tragos from Berkeley, California, to Rich Hill, Missouri, in search of clues about her father, who died in a Mekong Delta ambush more than 30 years ago, and then to Washington, D.C., to talk with such comrades of his as Senator John Kerry.
Secrets of the Dead: Bridge on the River Kwai (November 12; 8 to 9 p.m.; Channel 13) tells us everything David Lean and Alec Guinness left out in their 1957 movie about a small part of the big story of the “death railway” the Japanese ordained to link Thailand to Burma during World War II, killing off approximately half of the 200,000 used to build it, including 10,000 Allied prisoners of war.
Dangerous Prescription (November 13; 9 to 10 p.m.; Channel 13) examines the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process to find out why tens of thousands of Americans have become ill or died after taking FDA-approved medications—with special emphasis on the role of drug companies like Bayer and case histories of diet drugs.
JFK: A Presidency Revealed (November 16; 8 to 11 p.m.; History Channel) looks back with an admiration not quite abject at Camelot as seen through the eyes of the royal family, the administration, and mostly enthralled historians—although health problems get an airing.
Coyote Waits (November 16; 9 to 11 p.m.; Channel 13) is the second American Mystery! adaptation of a Tony Hillerman novel, with Wes Studi and Adam Beach as tribal cops following a trail of bodies to the bleached bones of Butch Cassidy. It’s a complicated case, requiring Keith Carradine, Graham Greene, the CIA, and a South Vietnamese colonel.