1. We’re sure that there are more than “10 Things You Don’t Know About,” but H2’s new series of that name chooses National Archives documents, a gangster’s secret speakeasy, and presidential assassins for starters. Premiering November 2, it’s hosted by Henry Rollins. “To me, the only way to make history talk, for it to really grab you, is to get as close to it as possible,” he says. “You need incredible access and a great deal of persistence to get where you want to go. We did it.”
2. Las Vegas aquarium builders Wayde and Brett are back in new episodes of Animal Planet’s “Tanked” on November 1, creating over-the-top underwater domains for clients including comedian Tracy Morgan (who wants a new home for his octopus) and the Morris Animal Foundation, which aims to honor Betty White with a Noah’s Ark aquarium at a benefit.
3. “Promised Land,” which won the Feature Film Environmental Media Association award for its fracking storyline, has its HBO premiere November 2. Matt Damon and John Krasinski co-wrote and star in the provocative drama.
4. Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls and Parolees” returns for its fifth season November 2, following Tia Torres’ Villalobos pit bull rescue, now relocated to New Orleans.
5. Can a series about the 13.7 billion year history of the world be boiled down to a mere ten hours? H2’s new series “Big History” is attempting to do that by starting small -- such as explaining how salt has impacted every aspect of civilization and life -- showing the interconnectivity between historical events. Narrated by Bryan Cranston, it premieres November 2.
6. It’s Cesar Millan to the rescue again in the Nat Geo Wild special “Doggie Nightmares,” in which the famous Dog Whisperer works with two families to solve canine adoption crises. It premieres November 3.
7. The courtship and mating behaviors of gorillas, gibbons, flamingos, and blue-footed boobies are analyzed in the PBS “Nature” special “Love in the Animal Kingdom,” premiering November 6.
8. Is nuclear power a threat to our existence or the answer to our energy problems? Scientists and environmentalists weigh in on the divisive topic — including those who have changed their minds on the issue — in the controversial documentary “Pandora’s Promise,” premiering on CNN November 7.
9. From lions, sharks and camels to skunks, bears, and bees, Jeremy Brandt gamely wrangles them all in the Nat Geo Wild series “Jobs That Bite!” joining the professionals who make a living doing dirty, dangerous but often fun work with animals. It premieres November 9.
10. Sloths may be slow but they’re still pretty fascinating, as the Animal Planet series “Meet the Sloths” aims to demonstrate in its eight-part, behind the scenes look at their behavior, launching November 9. There’s also a digital companion Sloth Cam at apl.tv/sloths, running 24/7 from the Atlanta Zoo.
11. & 12. Bigfoot is the subject of two programs this month: Animal Planet launches a 16-episode fourth season of “Finding Bigfoot” on November 10, continuing its quest for yetis and sasquatches, and on November 17, Nat Geo premieres a two-hour special “Bigfoot: The New Evidence” that reveals new genetic research that may unlock the mystery behind the myth.
13. “Brain Games” is back with more experiments and conundrums to confuse, confound and delight. The Nat Geo series returns November 11 with “Battle of the Ages,” about aging and the brain.
14. Parrots are noisy, needy, and can live more than 50 years--much more high maintenance than many people can handle. As a result parrot sanctuaries are bursting with abandoned birds, a plight revealed in the PBS “Nature” documentary “Parrot Confidential.” The film, premiering November 13, uses beautiful footage of macaws in the wild to underscore the sad truth about parrots in captivity.
15. Science Channel’s first scripted drama focuses on 1986’s most shocking event: “The Challenger Disaster.” William Hurt, Bruce Greenwood, Brian Dennehy, Eve Best and Joanne Whalley star in the story about the investigation into what happened and why. It premieres November 16 and will air on both Discovery and the Science Channel.
16. People who can withstand extreme cold, heat, G-forces, altitude and ocean depths are just a few of the extraordinary individuals Tyler Harcott encounters in the 12-part Weather Channel series “Freaks of Nature,” premiering November 17. Mega-wave surfer Laird Hamilton and high-wire walker Nik Wallenda are the subjects of the seventh and eighth episodes.
17. & 18. PBS “NOVA” presents a pair of out-of-this-world premieres on November 20: “At the Edge of Space” explores phenomena including auroras, meteors, Northern Lights and flickering sprites, and “Asteroids: Doomsday or Payday?” examines both the potential for disaster and the lucrative possibilities in element-rich asteroids.
19. Discovery gets up close and personal with Emperors, Rockhoppers and Humboldts in “Penguins: Waddle All the Way,” a two-hour special airing November 23 that employs animatronic Penguincams -- cameras disguised as birds -- to infiltrate their colonies. Jane Lynch narrates the documentary.
20. Premiering November 25 on HBO, the documentary “Toxic Hot Seat” is an exposé about the pervasiveness of harmful chemicals in our lives and how their makers have lobbied to keep them there. It’s activists, chemists and politicians vs. Big Tobacco and purveyors of flame retardant and toxic furniture in this high-stakes battle.
21. Nat Geo has fun with fake monsters — and monster hunters — in “Monster Survival Guide,” following the adventures of fictional cryptozoologists. Premiering November 17, it’s a pilot for a possible series.
22. Celebrating the fiercest felines on earth, Nat Geo Wild’s fourth annual Big Cat Week kicks off November 29 with several premieres, starting with the speed challenge “Man vs. Cheetah,” followed on the 30th by the lioness saga “Killer Queen” and the species rivalry of “Cougar vs. Wolf.”