The epidemic of deaths among gay men in the early 80s was a frightening, unexplained scourge on the burgeoning community of San Francisco, where more than 1,000 people were dying by the week.
The poignant stories of loss and courage as the community rallied together are recalled by a handful of eloquent, thoughtful survivors David Weissman’s affecting history, “We Were Here,” which debuts tonight on “Independent Lens” (PBS, 10 p.m.).
As other AIDS documentaries became sidetracked into cures, discrimination and national awareness, the stories of the devastation of a single community is sometimes forgotten, or has never been learned in the 30 years since. This strong film will change that.
An interview I did with the filmmaker for Salon.com can be found here.
Punk rockers are parents too is the point of another documentary tonight. In “The Other F Word” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) we get to see rockers raise their kids as pretty good fathers. Among those taking part are Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ar Akexakis of Everclear and Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen. It’s a gentle reminder about Sunday’s upcoming Father’s Day, from a lot of tattooed dads.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals of Heat at Thunder (ABC, 9 p.m.) ought to be another ratings buster. Tuesday’s game reached 16.5 million.
Too late to stop the thing now, as Kim Zolciak finally says her vows with NFL star Kroy Biermann on the season finale of “Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding” (Bravo, 9 p.m.). Here’s hoping it lasts longer than Kim Kardashian’s.
And right after “Kathy” (Bravo, 10 p.m.) gets to dish about it.
The British boy band with a couple of stateside hits has its own concert special: “Fuse Presents: The Wanted Live from The Beacon Theater” (Fuse, 8 p.m.).
Has everybody decided whether to sign their contract with the ballet company on “Breaking Pointe” (The CW, 8 p.m.). Can we move this thing along a little faster.
Brenda Strong, the former “Desperate Housewives” narrator who has landed on the new version of “Dallas” also narrates the murder story on “Blood Relatives” (Investigation Discovery, 10 p.m.).
“The Pauly D Project” (MTV, 10:30 p.m.) reaches its finale with a victorious return to his old Rhode Island high school where he is a role model for the kids: Enough hair gel and someday you’ll be a contestant on “The Choice” (Fox, 9 p.m.).
On the accompanying, only slightly less horrible dating show “Take Me Out” (Fox, 8 p.m.), non-celebrity contestants can literally watch the lights of interest excinguish in dozen of women’s eyes, all at once, while George Lopez makes wisecracks.
Michael is a little edgy as the new season of “Burn Notice” (USA, 9 p.m.) begins – the feds just arrested his girlfriend in last season’s cliffhanger.
“Suits” (USA, 10 p.m.) returns for a second season as well, acting smarter than it actually is, but with some pretty good backing music, rare in a cable series.
“Swamp People” (History, 9 p.m.) try to make the most out of what’s left of alligator season, and then try to tie it all into history somehow. The Swamp People were pictured prominently in a story I did in the Washington Post last week on redneck TV.
The two hour “Madacascar” (Animal Planet, 9 p.m.) is not the animated movie, but an actual documentary about the biodiversity of the island.
The Thursday night teen idol series continues on Turner Classic Movies with Sal Mineo in “The Young Don’t Cry” (8 p.m.), “A Summer Place” (9:45 p.m.) with Sandra Dee, “Love in a Goldfish Bowl” (12:15 a.m.) with Fabian, and Ann Margret in “Bye Bye Birdie” (2 a.m.).
Golf’s U.S. Open (ESPN, noon and 5 p.m.) begins in San Francisco.
In he European Soccer Championships, it’s Italy vs. Croatia (ESPN2, noon) and Spain vs. Ireland (ESPN2, 2:45 p.m.).
In baseball, it’s Diamondbacks at Rangers (MLB, 8 p.m.).
Kelly Ripa: Sofia Vergara, Christina Applegate, L.A. Reid, Howie Mandel. The View: Maggie Gyllenhaal. The Talk: Chi-Lan Lieu. Ellen DeGeneres: Sean “Diddy” Combs, Chris Harrison, Kate Upton (rerun).
David Letterman: Lenny Marcus, Elizabeth Cook. Jay Leno: Penelope Cruz, Rick Harrison, We Are Augustines. Jimmy Kimmel: Jada Pinkett Smith, Matt Kemp, the Temper Trap. Jimmy Fallon: Paul Giamatti, Patrick J. Adams, Dukes of September. Craig Ferguson: Don Rickles, Max Greenfield. Tavis Smiley: Frank Deford. Carson Daly: Artie Lange, Chely Wright, We Are Augustines (rerun). Jon Stewart: Catherine Zeta-Jones. Stephen Colbert: Steve Coll. Conan O’Brien: Adam Sandler, T.J. Miller. Chelsea Handler: Ellen Page, Michael Yo, Fortune Feimster, Ross Mathews.