Ronald Reagan’s legacy, myths, and wife Nancy Regan explored in three TV docs

Today is the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, and whether you think he’s the second coming of Christ or the devil’s spawn, he’s certainly an interesting person. Three documentaries debuting on TV over the next three days explore his life and influence.

Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, History airs a documentary that is says “constructs a portrait using the defining moments of his 93 years” and “provides insight as to how each moment informed the man and shaped a President.”

Monday at 9, HBO debuts director Eugene Jarecki’s Reagan, which HBO describes as “a fresh examination of the fascinating paradoxes surrounding the man, the myth and his legacy,” and says it follows his “rise from small-town lifeguard to revered architect of the modern world.” Jarecki told Fox News that he was not “an amicable dunce” but was instead “a shrewd thinker” who was “far smarter than people gave him credit for” but still had “blind spots and shortcomings.” Watch the trailer:

Today, PBS Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, which profiles the woman who started as an actor and eventually became a highly influential first lady (check your station’s listings). It includes a rare interview Nancy Regan gave to PBS’ Judy Woodruff, who summarizes in a blog post its central theme: “Mrs. Reagan is uncomfortable with the public’s knowing that she exerted serious influence behind the scenes; she says she doesn’t want to detract in any way from the credit her husband is due for his two terms in office, considered iconic by most modern Republicans. But the job of president of the United States has grown so complex and demanding of an intensive team effort that it’s entirely natural to expect all modern First Ladies to be at or near the center of that team.” Here’s its trailer:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.