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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: June 23 to June 29

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY JUNE 23 Game of Stones (Discovery, 9 p.m.) In the entrepreneurial spirit of reality shows like American Pickers and Yukon Gold (and having no connection whatsoever to Game of Thrones), this new unscripted series introduces viewers to the “Gem Guys,” a crew of professional gem hunters headed up by a cool cat named Don Kogen. The opener takes the fortune hunters to a remote region of Cambodia where their search for a particularly valuable gemstone is fraught with all manner of perils. Cobras and landmines and pirates, oh my.

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TUESDAY JUNE 24 American Experience: Freedom Summer (PBS, 9 p.m.) Driven by eyewitness interviews and somber historical perspective, this documentary rewinds time to the summer of 1964, when the eyes of the world were trained on racially-divided Mississippi. Over a ten-week period that came to be known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 students allied with civil-rights organizers and local African-Americans to effect change in America’s most segregated state. Besides canvassing for voter registration, the group built schools and challenged the Democratic Party at their national convention in Atlantic City. Watch and learn.

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WEDNESDAY JUNE 25 Big Brother (CBS, Global, 8 p.m.) Has it been 16 seasons already? CBS’s broad version of a popular Dutch TV concept just keeps coming back each summer with a fresh crop of subjects willing to submit to the Lord of the Flies treatment. Once again, the participants are ensconced in luxury digs (this time with a tree-house theme) that has been fitted with more than 50 cameras and nearly 100 microphones. The houseguests feed on each other and vote one of their own off each week until the last one standing collects $500,000. Remember, it’s only fun until someone breaks Piggy’s glasses.

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THURSDAY JUNE 26 NY Med (ABC, 10 p.m.) Falling somewhere in between a documentary and a reality show, this ABC News program is graphic enough to scare anyone away from pursuing a career in medicine. The unscripted concept shifts focus between Manhattan’s New York-Presbyterian Hospital – where some of the world’s best surgeons ply their trade – and Newark’s University Hospital (where most of the cases seem to be gun-violence victims). In the kickoff show, Dr. Mehmet Oz – yes, that Dr. Oz – performs surgery on a young man whose aorta has ripped from his chest right down to the main artery in his leg. Not for the squeamish.

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FRIDAY JUNE 27 Girl Meets World (Family Channel, 9:30 p.m.) Ah, the circle of TV life. Debuting tonight, this new family comedy focuses primarily on a spunky 12-year-old girl named Riley (Rowan Blanchard) whose parents Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel) were mere youngsters in the once-popular series Boy Meets World, which aired from 1993 to 2000. As should be expected, Riley is a handful and too often influenced by her bratty pal Maya (Sabrina Carpenter), but since the show hails from the U.S. Disney Channel, there’s no reason to fret about plotlines involving drugs or teen pregnancy.

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SATURDAY JUNE 28 George Carlin: Jammin’ in New York (Comedy Network, 10 p.m.) According to those who knew him, the late George Carlin claimed this 1992 standup special was his all-time favourite TV performance – quite possibly because the corresponding album earned him a Grammy Award. No question the old grouse was loaded for bear as he expounds briskly on a breathtaking range of subjects, including the war in the Persian Gulf, the then-new obsession with bottled water and, obviously, the presidency of George Bush the Elder. You never had to agree with the words Carlin was saying, but it’s impossible not to admire his candor.

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SUNDAY JUNE 29 Unforgettable (CBS, 10 p.m.; CTV, 8 p.m.) Thank the TV gods for small miracles. Back tonight for a third season, this quirky crime drama stars the capable Poppy Montgomery as Carrie, an intense young New York detective with a remarkable ability to remember people, places and things down to the smallest detail. In tonight’s season-opener, Carrie and her cop partner Al (Dylan Walsh) are conscripted by the Secret Service when a murder investigation exposes a massive counterfeiting ring.

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