When reading the newspaper, I frequently turn to the obituaries first. It's not because I'm morbid. On the contrary, I look for inspiration, the summation of a life fully lived -- or at least a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.
It's in that spirit that I recommend "Time of Death" (9 p.m., Showtime, TV-MA), a six-part documentary series profiling individuals with terminal illnesses as they face their final months, weeks and days.
What we're shown not only reveals resilience and strength in the face of mortality, but the ruminations and regrets of people trying to make sense of their actions, accomplishments and mistakes, put their affairs in order for their children, and pass on words of consolation and support to their survivors.
Documenting the dying is by its very nature a difficult
subject, but "Time" is never morbid and rarely depressing. While the approach of death is ever-present, the series is very much about the still living and how they make sense of life until the very end.
---Having gained subscribers and publicity with programs including "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black," Netflix continues to offer original programming. Beginning today, viewers can stream "Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive," a standup performance by the "Parks and Recre ation" star filmed at the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia.
Netflix also announced that "Dexter" fans can catch up on the just-completed Showtime series. The first four seasons are up and running today. Seasons 5-8 will begin streaming on Jan. 1.
---The San Francisco Opera presents a musical adaptation of Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick" on "Great Perform- ances" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG).
---"Wait 'Til Next Year" (8 p.m. and 9 p.m., MTV, TV-PG) follows a high school football team that has endured a five-year, 43-game losing streak. Last week, MTV made the entire season of the 12-episode documentary sports series available through the MTV app and playable on iPhone, iPad and Xbox 360 platforms.
---Two young finalists emerge on the first part of the season finale of "MasterChef Junior" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
---Lou Reed, who died Sunday, performed his 1973 "Berlin" album before a live audience in the 2007 concert documentary "Lou Reed Berlin" (8 p.m., VH1 Classic),
directed by Julian Schnabel.
---The past seven days examined on "Charlie Rose: The Week" (8:30 p.m., PBS).
---A victim shows signs of gruesome experimentation on "Hawaii Five-0" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---The search for Nick becomes urgent on "Grimm" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Jamie's actions face scrutiny on "Blue Bloods" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Grayson and Lady Jane become intimate on "Dracula" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---The ocean becomes menacing on "Haven" (10 p.m., Syfy, TV-14).
---Ghosts appear to target a military family on "The Dead Files" (10 p.m., Travel Channel, TV-PG).
---A patient is trapped in the emergency room during a storm on "Untold Stories of the E.R." (10 p.m., Discovery Fit and Health, TV-14).
Mickey Rourke plays a Polish-American Vietnam vet police captain bent on taming Chinatown gangs in the 1985 drama "Year of the Dragon" (7 p.m., Sundance, TV-MA), a ludicrous, violent, overwrought and frequently -- if unintentionally -- hilarious, or at least silly, film.
---"Why We Love Vampires" (8 p.m., NBC).
---Mike is suspected of stealing a neighbor's campaign signs on "Last Man Standing" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---American Authors perform on "The Carrie Diaries" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Football proves fascinating on "The Neighbors" (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---The Sandman haunts Abbie's dreams on "Sleepy Hollow" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
---A party cup with something extra on "Shark Tank" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---Modeling with bats on "Amer ica's Next Top Model" (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
---Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Wild, Sarah Colonna and Ian Karmel appear on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!, r).
---Simon Cowell, Paulina Rubio and Regina King are booked on "The Arsenio Hall Show" (WPMT, WPHL).
---Morgan Freeman, Brian Regan and Frightened Rabbit appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Melissa McCarthy, Andy Cohen and Empire of the Sun on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Padma Lakshmi, Harrison Ford and Big Sean visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Geoffrey Rush and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.