TV Daily

Salon's guide to what to watch on Tuesday: Frontline's "The Undertaking" offers a gentle look at the work of funeral director and poet Thomas Lynch.

Published October 30, 2007 10:00AM (EDT)

Prime Pick

Photo: PBS

While the subject matter of Frontline's "The Undertaking" (9 p.m. EDT on PBS, check local listings) might scare off the faint of heart, its gentle look at the work of funeral director and poet Thomas Lynch mixes deep sadness with a patient, philosophical tone. The program combines the stories of families handling funeral arrangements with the day-to-day dealings of a funeral home. Interspersed throughout are the poems and insights of the family patriarch, Lynch, who reads his own work with the somber, lyrical tone of a particularly soothing NPR commentator. While these "deep thoughts" moments might leave some viewers rolling their eyes, Lynch's prose is necessary to lift this enormously heavy subject out of the darkness. Likewise, footage of two parents dealing with the impending death of their 2-year-old, who's suffering from a genetic disorder, will make you weep until you're reaching for the remote, but by the end, their courage in the face of devastating consequences feels strangely inspiring. Ultimately "The Undertaking" offers a sometimes grueling but gracefully crafted reminder of how our experiences with death connect us to one another and awaken us to the preciousness of each day.


The finale of five-part miniseries "Five Days" airs at 8 p.m. EDT on HBO, while "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" airs at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC. In tonight's fifth-season premiere of FX's "Nip/Tuck" (10 p.m. EDT), Christian and Sean move the business to Beverly Hills, Calif. And Independent Lens documentary "Storm of Emotions" (10 p.m. EDT on PBS, check listings) explores the evacuation of Israelis from the Gaza Strip.

On the talk shows

Regis and Kelly

ABC, 9 a.m. EDT

William Baldwin, John O'Hurley

The View

ABC, 11 a.m. EDT

David Foster, Tim Daly, guest co-host Merry Miller

Ellen DeGeneres

Syndicated, check local listings

Amy Brenneman, Larry Himmel

Oprah Winfrey

Syndicated, check local listings

Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, Ivanka Trump

Charlie Rose

PBS, check local listings

Mohamed ElBaradei, Valerie Plame Wilson

Larry King

CNN, 9 p.m. EDT

Criss Angel

Jon Stewart

Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EDT

Valerie Plame Wilson

Stephen Colbert

Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Craig Venter

David Letterman

CBS, 11:30 p.m. EDT

Jennifer Connelly, Slash, Nicole Atkins

Jay Leno

NBC, 11:35 p.m. EDT

Tom Cruise, Rep. Ron Paul, the Sex Pistols

Tavis Smiley

PBS, check local listings

Serj Tankian, Paul Krugman

Jimmy Kimmel

ABC, 12:05 a.m. EDT

Rebecca Romijn, the sixth eliminated celebrity from "Dancing With the Stars," James Lipton

Conan O'Brien

NBC, 12:35 a.m. EDT

Ethan Hawke, Susie Essman, Zappa Plays Zappa

Craig Ferguson

CBS, 12:35 a.m. EDT

Steve Carell, Good Charlotte

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

By Salon Staff

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