Highlights 7/24 to 7/30

Veteran filmmaker Simon King takes on the role of mother to two cheetah cubs, Toki and Sambu, orphaned when their mother was killed by a lion on Nature The Cheetah Orphans at 7 p.m. Sunday.

What does an honest cop do when his bosses are on the side of the lawbreakers? Outwitting prosecutors, politicians, mobsters and run-of-the-mill kidnappers and killers, Detective Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell) brings justice to modern-day Italy, whether the authorities want it or not on Masterpiece Mystery! at 8 p.m.

History Detectives trace an unusual wooden telescope to its Revolution era ancestor, investigate whether the Japanese characters carved into a cane unlock the mystery of a family’s past in a World War II relocation camp, and determine whether a drawing of huge gold nuggets is genuine or just another example of Gold Rush hype at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Frontline 8 p.m. Tuesday investigates the country’s oldest, largest, and most wide-open marijuana market in California on “The Pot Republic.”

With their acute intelligence, Monitor Lizards are a very different kind of reptile, blurring the line between reptiles and mammals. Nova: Lizard Kings at 7 p.m. Wednesday looks at what makes these tongued reptiles so similar to mammals and what has allowed them to become such unique survivors.

A unique field expedition, covered exclusively by Nova, will set out for Alaska’s North Slope to defrost a jackpot of new fossil clues that could help to explain how dinosaurs managed to survive and even thrive in the frigid polar regions. With Alaska’s spectacular wilderness as a backdrop, Arctic Dinosaurs at 8 p.m. Wednesday will reveal a prehistoric lost world for the first time on television.

Dinosaur Wars: American Experience at 9 p.m. Wednesday chronicles the life and work of rival paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope, who uncovered the remains of dozens of prehistoric animals and provided ample evidence to prove Charles Darwin’s hotly disputed theory of evolution.

Steve Earle pays tribute to his mentor, legendary Texas troubadour Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson follows with tunes from his latest album on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Evan Smith chats with Bill Paxton about his current projects, including the hit HBO series Big Love and the Steven Soderbergh movie Haywire on Overheard at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Explore the remote Texas city of Marfa which attracts visitors including those interested in literary pursuits, fine arts and the metaphysical on Arts in Context at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Known for its mysterious lights, colorful characters, ranching roots and tourism, Marfa is fast becoming a thriving and eclectic creative community.

Chet heads to Mineral Wells to sample the “Crazy Water” that made it famous and rock climb at its unique state park on The Daytripper at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Find out how to conquer the new insects infecting agaves, cactus, and other succulents on Central Texas Gardener at noon Saturday. On tour, see how to design a deer-resistant succulent garden.

Songwriting genius Elvis Costello returns to Austin City Limits at 7 p.m. Saturday to showcase songs from his latest, Americana-influenced record Secret, Profane and Sugarcane. Austin’s rootsy songwriting collective the Band of Heathens follows.