HBO’s Documentary Films Summer Series presents a different intriguing, timely film each Monday through July 30. The series covers a vast array of topics, from social issues to pop culture, each with a unique perspective. First up is One Nation Under Dog: Stories of Fear, Loss and Betrayal (9 p.m. Monday), a three-part documentary that sheds light on America’s complicated relationship with canines.
As the title suggests, this isn’t really a feel-good film, but rather a call to action for responsible pet owners. There are some graphic scenes in this film, to put in perspective what truly results from overbreeding, neglect and puppy mills.
Part one of the film follows a New Jersey man facing legal consequences from dog attacks on his neighbors. He remains dedicated to his dogs, despite the severity of some biting incidents.
The second segment looks into the loss of pets and the different ways people cope with the death of a furry family member. We also meet a woman who’s rescued more than 100 dogs because there is no animal shelter in her region.
In part three, filmmakers go inside kill shelters and puppy mills, exposing the result of pet overpopulation and neglect. On the flipside, we see what dog rescuers, adopters and rehabilitators are doing to help deal with the mistakes Americans continue to make surrounding pets.
Upcoming summer documentaries to check out: Me @ The Zoo offers a peek inside the life of YouTube celeb Chris “Leave Britney Alone” Crocker; Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present follows the controversial “grandmother of performance art” as she prepares for a retrospective exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art; Hard Times: Lost on Long Island focuses on the unemployment crisis on the East Coast city.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 13
Dallas (Series Premiere, 9 p.m., TNT) – The quintessential ’80s primetime soap is back, along with original stars Larry Hagman (J.R.), Patrick Duffy (Bobby) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen).
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (12:37 a.m., NBC) – Two of my personal heroes, Lena Dunham (Girls) and Ice-T, stop by. Norah Jones performs.
FRIDAY JUNE 15
Megastunts: Highwire Over Niagara Falls – Live! (9 p.m., ABC) – High wire acrobat/daredevil/insane person Nik Wallenda attempts to cross the famous waterfall via a two-inch tightrope.
The Ricky Gervais Show (9 p.m., HBO) – The trio discusses Earth’s origins and the evolution of animals.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (10 p.m., IFC) – Scott and Reggie welcome Amy Poehler to discuss her hair and her ongoing feud with Mad Magazine.
Bunk (10:30 p.m., IFC) – Dana Gould (writer, The Simpsons), Eugene Mirman (Yvgeny Mirminsky, Delocated) and Damien Lemon (MTV’s Guy Code) compete for prizes like the opportunity to meet their birth parents.
SUNDAY JUNE 17
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Fans finally get a look inside The Authority’s New Orleans HQ. As Pam deals with becoming a maker, a flashback reveals her first encounter with Eric in early 1900s San Francisco. Marcus’ mother pulls Sam and Luna apart (hopefully not literally, but that’s always a possibility).
The Killing (Season Finale, 9 p.m., AMC) – Rosie’s killer is revealed, but since a third season has been confirmed, there will most likely be an ominous twist.
Nurse Jackie (Season Finale, 9 p.m., Showtime) – Cruz pushes Jackie to her brink and when she breaks, he fires her. Later, Jackie stays with Dr. O’Hara as she goes into labor, but must leave her side when she discovers an even more personal emergency.
Girls (Season Finale, 10:30 p.m., HBO) – After the two BFFs decide to part ways, Hannah’s gay ex-boyfriend moves in, Marnie has another run-in with Charlie and Jessa throws a mystery party.
MONDAY JUNE 18
Hell’s Kitchen (8 p.m., FOX) – John Sedlar and Thomas Ortega judge the 14 remaining chefs’ Mexican meal. On Tuesday, high fashion-inspired dishes are created for designers to judge.
MasterChef (9 p.m., FOX) – The contestants head to Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base to serve up healthy meals to 200 service men and women. Tuesday, the 15 remaining chefs use unsavory cuts of meat to create a tasty menu.
TUESDAY JUNE 19
Workaholics (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – The guys face off with Montez in small-claims court.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern on Twitter