TV Daily

Salon's guide to what to watch on Tuesday: The miniseries "Five Days" squeezes ready-made melodrama for all its worth.

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Prime Pick

Photo: HBO

Given the international obsession with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the BBC-HBO five-part miniseries “Five Days” (premieres 8 p.m. EDT on HBO) has more than a few things in common with “Tsunami: The Aftermath,” also a BBC-HBO collaboration. By taking a heart-wrenching event that already plucks at the public’s heartstrings — “Five Days” concerns a woman and her two children who disappear unexpectedly — the filmmakers borrow from a sort of ready-made hysteria and squeeze it for every last drop of melodrama they can. But while “Tsunami” felt like an “Airport ’77″ version of a tragedy that was too sweeping and awful to be depicted reasonably on the small screen, “Five Days,” though just as sorrowful, includes enough of an undercurrent of mystery to keep things interesting. Can we trust the missing woman’s husband? What about her father — isn’t he a little creepy? And what’s wrong with that receptionist at the gym — could she be desperate enough to commit a crime? After five hours of airtime, though, it’s hard to imagine a resolution that won’t seem hokey and/or predictable, but hey, at least you won’t spend two or three seasons trying to figure this one out.

Also…

The final months of WWII are chronicled in Part 7 of Ken Burns’ seven-part documentary series “The War” (8 p.m. EDT on PBS, check local listings). If you’ve wondered how in the world a lame GEICO commercial translates into a half-hour sitcom, tune in for the premiere of ABC’s “Cavemen” (8 p.m. EDT), but be prepared to laugh twice, then cry for the remaining 20 minutes. After that, you’ll have to choose between the second-season finale of the charmingly dorky geek dramedy “Eureka” (9 p.m. EDT on SciFi) and the final-season premiere of “Queer Eye” (9 p.m. EDT on Bravo).



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Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Faith Hill

Ellen DeGeneres

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Oprah Winfrey

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An Hour on India: Pranab Mukherjee, Nandan Nilekani

Larry King

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Jude Law, Sarah Silverman, John Fogerty

Jay Leno

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Ted Koppel, Jason Schwartzman, Dana Gould

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Contributors: Megan Doll, Heather Havrilesky, Eryn Loeb, Amy Reiter

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