At a time when Americans need all the inspiration they can get, “American Masters” gives “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” (7 p.m., PBS/Ch. 7).
If you’re not familiar with her life, this documentary — which premiered at Sundance in 2016 — will open your eyes. Even if you are, you’ll feel renewed after you watch it.
“I think my grandma’s life is a call to action,” said Colin Johnson, co-founder of Caged Bird Legacy, LLC, which is dedicated to continuing the work of Maya Angelou. “I think that the documentary itself tells a story about someone that hasn’t given up on themselves or humanity.”
Johnson, who’s interviewed in the program, said that he’s been approached after screenings and “some people have felt healed and some people have felt renewed and rejuvenated. And I think that when you have such a feeling you should probably do something with that and maybe try to find a way to give it to somebody else.”
The program includes Angelou herself, in interviews done for “American Masters” before her death in 2014.
“Those really formed the core of our film, those interviews with her, because it’s really her story.
“There’s no narrator,” said filmmaker Bob Hercules. “It’s her really narrating.”
Angelou died during the production of this project, so the filmmakers scoured the archives for previous interview with a variety of outlets.
“We had to dig really deep and find other interviews that would be connective threads — to help us tell this story and make sense out of it,” Hercules said. “Usually, in these kinds of films, you know, you’re able to go back to your subject and say, ‘We have a couple of follow up questions.’ We didn’t have that opportunity, so we really had a great team of archivists working on this.
“So it was really challenging, but I’d say a great challenge.”
And the end result is a really fine, two-hour documentary.
Elsewhere on TV …
• “NCIS” (7 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2): Bishop is determined to get revenge for the murder of her late boyfriend,.
• “The Middle” (7 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Frankie gets Mike to go see the dentist; Axl, Hutch and Kenny decide to sell the Winnebago; Brick writes an historical musical.
• “New Girl” (7 p.m., Fox/Ch. 13): Jess is nervous about starting her new job as principal; Cece helps Winston try to finalize his divorce from Rhonda.
• “The Flash” (7 p.m., CW/Ch. 30): Barry, Caitlin, Cisco and Julian head to Earth-2 on a rescue mission to save Harry from Gorilla City.
• “The Haves and Have Nots” (7 p.m., OWN): Hanna struggles to keep the peace in her family.
• “American Housewife” (7:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Greg befriends a fellow history who is the husband of Katie’s nemesis.