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Archive for Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tune In Tonight: Ken Burns presents ‘Dust Bowl’

November 18, 2012

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Imagine a scenario where greed contributes to environmental damage, leading to a natural disaster of unimagined fury — a decade-long nightmare that some people interpret as stirrings of the biblical apocalypse. This may sound like contemporary misgivings about global warming, but it’s the story of “The Dust Bowl” (7 p.m. Sunday, PBS, check local listings), a new documentary from Ken Burns airing over two nights.

‘‘Bowl” includes interviews with survivors of the calamity, which saw the topsoil of America’s heartland literally blow away after unprecedented plowing was followed by a record drought and heat waves. It’s filled with little-seen film footage of devastation and Burns’ patented pan-and-scan use of startling still photography.

• Carrie Fisher stars in the 2012 holiday bauble “It’s Christmas, Carol!” (7 p.m. Sunday, Hallmark). She’s the ghost who tries to teach Carol, a Scrooge-like publisher (Emmanuelle Vaugier), the error of her ways. Carol resists her lesson with cranky reluctance right up until the bitter end. Faithful to the plotting of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the movie departs a bit from the Hallmark formula of sending overscheduled urbanites to the country to get their groove back in the arms of a cowboy type. That doesn’t necessarily make it better. Lifestyle expert Carson Kressley stars as an elfin editor. He has many talents. Acting is not one of them.

Sunday’s other highlights

• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): the end of a drug cartel; money, power and college football; new notions about morals learned in infancy.

• The Pittsburgh Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens on “Sunday Night Football” (7 p.m., NBC).

• Justin Bieber and Kelly Clarkson are among the talents on hand for the 40th Anniversary American Music Awards (7 p.m., ABC).

• “Superstorm 2012: Hell and High Water” (8 p.m., History) looks at Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.

• Michonne makes a choice regarding Woodbury on “The Walking Dead” (8 p.m., AMC).

• Margaret considers her options on “Boardwalk Empire” (8 p.m., HBO).

• “Breaking Amish” (9 p.m., TLC) presents a cast reunion.

• Terry faces a threatening situation on “Treme” (9 p.m., HBO).

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