The night before last I watched Susan BellowsJFK, a four-hour American Experience documentary that will premiere on Monday, 11.11 and Tuesday, 11.12. How does it differ from the numerous other docs about John F. Kennedy? It’s a bit more candid about some of the dicey personal stuff. Kennedy’s carelessness (and in some instances recklessness) as a youth, the constant lying about Addison’s disease, his many marital infidelities (but none of the sordid details). There’s more of a warts-and-all sense of a man and less of that familiar tribute tone that always creeps in when a beloved figure is examined. Otherwise it reshuffles and deals the same deck of cards. How could it not? As others have, Bellows reports that Kennedy found his footing with the Cuban Missile Crisis and that he was looking at an almost certain re-election in ’64. Death saved him, of course, from having to either extricate U.S. forces from Vietnam (which he would have had a tough time doing altogether) or increase their strength and go down the same road that eventually engulfed Lyndon Johnson. What got me about this doc more than anything else? Those drums again.

I’m actually a little more interested in the Nova “Cold Case” show (airing on 11.13) that will re-examine all the forensic evidence in the JFK assassination by the light of current technology.