Have tempers cooled enough in the past seven and a half years that the HBO film Recount (Sunday, 9 PM) can be appreciated by all sides of the political spectrum without rancor? There doesn't seem to be much in the way of partisan grumbling about this examination of the five-week long climax of the 2000 presidential election, possibly because Republicans see it as having a happy ending, and Democrats feel vindicated by what happened afterwards.
The movie has a cast that wouldn't look at all out of place in a theatrical release, headlined by double Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as Al Gore's Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Tom Wilkinson, fresh off having played Benjamin Franklin in John Adams, is amazingly realistic as all-purpose fixer James Baker, who masterminded the Bush effort. Denis Leary adds his customary profane touches, and Laura Dern gets to ham it up mercilessly as the Cylon of Florida politics, Katherine Harris. Jay Roach, best known for his work on the Austin Powers films, directs. The end of the Bush era is probably the earliest such a film could have been made, but one wonders if it was even necessary, given that the drama was so intense the first time around.
Can You Duet (CMT, tonight 8 PM): The singers began live competition last week, so we're in the home stretch now. Who will be Brooks, and who will be done?
Dr. G: Medical Examiner (Discovery Health, tonight 9 PM): A woman who had been experiencing chronic pain suddenly dies; another woman suffers a fatal seizure after taking antihistamines to combat itching.
Man Vs. Wild (Discovery, tonight 9 PM): The conclusion to last week's adventure finds Bear dealing with swampy conditions in Indonesia, where the scars of the tsunami are still fresh.
Mobile Home Disaster (CMT, tonight 9 PM): A 35-year-old mobile home is restored. That's a lot of tornadoes to live through.
Man-Made Marvels (Science, tonight 10 PM): The Japanese are going into space, and it's not just anime. Their space agency is preparing to launch the H-IIA rocket.
Shockwave (History, tonight 10 PM): A hot air balloon hits a high-voltage tower; an Air Force fighter crashes into a house; a Lake Tahoe casino is bombed.
My Parent's House (HGTV, tonight 11:30 PM): Modernizing a living room while preserving some of the old homey touches.
Vinegar Hill (CBS, Saturday 8 PM): A network is airing an original movie on a Saturday after the end of the official TV season? Since this essentially never happens, that can't bode well for the caliber of the film. Mary-Louise Parker, who I'll watch in anything, stars as a teacher who is forced by circumstances to move in with her in-laws, and learns some secrets about the family dynamic.
Austin City Limits (PBS, Saturday 9 PM or check local listings): A band associated with a different college town, REM, kicks off the new season with selections from the new album Accelerate.
Decision House (MNTV, Saturday 9 PM): A male stripper feels emasculated by his new wife.
Groomer Has It (Animal Planet, Saturday 9 PM): The groomers have to search a park to find a dog suitable for grooming and a magazine cover shoot.
Indianapolis 500 (ABC, Sunday 1 PM): They still call it "the greatest spectacle in racing," even if virtually all the drivers are anonymous these days. Last year's race winner is now on the NASCAR circuit, which doesn't do much to sell your product.
NASCAR Sprint Cup: Coca-Cola 600 (Fox, Sunday 5 PM): Speaking of which, the good ol' boys, and Jeff Gordon, are in North Carolina for the traditional Memorial Day weekend party.
Designed to Sell (HGTV, Sunday 7:30 PM): A townhouse has become way cluttered from having five people living in it, and needs to be straightened out in order to be ready for sale.
Challenge (Food Network, Sunday 8 PM): What could be more perfect for this weekend than a look at the Memphis World Championship of Barbecue? 258 teams compete. You'll need a cardiologist on standby just to watch.
National Memorial Day Concert (PBS, Sunday 8 PM): Let freedom sing. Sarah Brightman, Gladys Knight, and the National Symphony are among the performers on the west lawn of the Capitol; a tribute to veterans will be highlighted by a tribute to actor and World War II hero Charles Durning. Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise host, ending once and for all speculation that they are the same person.
Shark Swarm (Hallmark, Sunday 8 PM): When a developer pollutes the local shore in order to drive off the old residents, sharks react to the disruption of the food chain by going after humans. So ... why are people in the water if it's polluted enough to kill everything else? Never mind. Daryl Hannah stars, though I would think a mermaid could swim away from a shark.
House Hunters (HGTV, Sunday 9 PM): A military family wants to put down roots (I hear that) and chooses Philadelphia.
Iron Chef America (Food Network, Sunday 9 PM): When are they going to stop pretending Mario Batali is still part of this show? Tonight, Bobby Flay is challenged by New Orleans chef Bob Iacovone.
The Tudors (Showtime, Sunday 9 PM): Anne's latest pregnancy doesn't work out well from Henry's perspective, leading to her permanent loss of influence amid charges of adultery; Jane Seymour and her family are installed at court.
Ax Men (History, Sunday 10 PM): A season recap. Oregon sure is pretty, if you ignore all the big sweaty guys.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!, Sunday 10 PM): A look at favorite moments from the show, including the proverbial "previously unaired footage."
This American Life (Showtime, Sunday 10 PM): Kids in New York learn how to disarm bullies the nonviolent way; two old friends prepare to meet in a critical boxing match.
Throwdown With Bobby Flay (Food Network, Sunday 10 PM): I can just picture Flay saying "throw down" a lot. It's a return match with old rivals Butch Lupinetti, Nigel Spence, and Delilah Winder, who tackle pork, fish, and vegetable dishes.
Viva Hollywood (VH1, Sunday 10 PM and 11 PM): Since VH1 is running the final two episodes back-to-back and ending the show on the midnight before a national holiday, can we infer things haven't gone well? At 10:00, the remaining wannabes star in their own celebrity viral video and then have to defend themselves to Perez Hilton; at 11:00, the final challenge involves starring in a mock scene where the finalists have to take on the personality of someone else from the house. Cheech Marin puts in an appearance.