War and Eventual Peace Admittedly, I have no ties to any of the 58K+ service members honored on the Vietnam Memorial’s black granite panels. And although I’m fully aware of the charged controversy that defined (and still defines) the conflict, I held zero historical knowledge of the monument until viewing Smithsonian Channel’s “Remembering Vietnam: The Wall at 25” (Sun, 8pm). In 1-hour, the doc revealed all that it could and should of the memorial’s enduring symbolism, its history, and the profound and unique affect it has on the American people. Still, it’s likely that some—especially those far more deeply affected by the war than I—will find the doc lacking in areas. After all, The Wall in its infancy wasn’t assigned a dismissive and resentful “black gash of shame” moniker for nothing. A conflict so divisive, so negatively defined, so achingly abrasive to many can’t help but spawn bitter cynicism—even toward a monument for those who gave their lives for country. “There are few more important, more poignant [stories] than that of the Vietnam Memorial,” said Smithsonian evp, programming David Royle at a Thurs screening. “It creates conversations between those that are gone and those that are left behind.” And because of the doc’s power and elemental perfection—it has humor, heartache, purpose, historical context and excellent sources—it demands its own reflective discourse. “It captures the essence of the memorial and what it means, and it will capture your heart as well,” said Jan Scruggs, founder/pres, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, who conceived the idea of a monument and spearheaded its ’82 construction. Now, 25 years later, Scruggs and the doc provide invaluable insight into the political wrangling and public outcry that threatened to scuttle the plan. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. The inanimate wall now personifies all who are honored thereon and becomes alive. Sometimes, in special situations, death is infused with the power to heal. CH Highlights “Explorer: Inside the Body Trade,” Sun, 10pm, Nat Geo. Welcome, sort of, to transplant tourism. Fly to India or China, see the sights and receive the organ transplants denied you in the U.S. Oh, those organs were obtained by swindlers or removed from criminals executed in China. Bon voyage? SA Worth a Look “The Planman,” Sun, 8pm, BBC America. Anglophiles have awaited a successor to the late Leo McKern to star in new eps of John Mortimer’s “Rumpole of the Bailey.” The slovenly, Wordsworth-quoting barrister/sleuth is a gargantuan role. As “The Planman” opens with a bewigged and robed Robbie Coltrane as barrister Jack Lennox, we quickly envision him as Rumpole. In fact, a character in this improbable mystery actually refers to Lennox as “Rumpole.” Coltrane’s the main reason to watch this film. In that sense, justice is served. – “Darkon,” Mon, 9pm, IFC. This is a creative if extremely long look at a subculture that’s existed in Baltimore-D.C. for 22 years. On alternate weekends, 150-300 ordinary people escape the quotidian by taking on roles as quasi-medieval warriors, as they joust in mock battles with full padding. Some do this to let off steam; others say it allows them to be dynamic and adventurous, which they’re not in daily life. After those points are made and re-made, there’s little left to say. SA

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