The first, and best, is Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. Through interviews with former members and survivors of the Jim Jones cult, along with loads of archival footage, you get an eerie portrait of a good idea gone bad. In hindsight, it's hard to imagine how anyone could have fallen under the spell of Jim Jones, he of the questionable jet-black hair and sideburns, ever present sunglasses, tacky leisure suits and, more importantly, bombastic personality.
But by listening to some of the cult's members, you can understand how the Peoples Temple--which actually began in the 1950s--latched on to the dying hippie ideals of the 1960s and 70s, and the people who held on to those ideals; things like racial equality for all, caring for ones elders, and self-sustaining communities all sound like great ideas. But the church was being run by a lunatic, and it is incredibly sad and horrifying how many people lost their lives because they didn't realize how insane Jones was until it was way too late.
Slightly less engrossing is Summer of Love, which focuses on that historical summer of 1967 in San Francisco. Perhaps it's just because having grown up here, we've heard enough about the summer of love--and have stumbled over enough burnouts from said summer on Haight Street--that the nostalgia factor didn't really hit us. But the documentary did make us realize that while many consider the "Summer of Love" the beginning of the whole hippie thing, it was really the beginning of the end of it, and peace and love would never be the same again. Some of the summer's participants interviewed include Peter Coyote, Joel Selvin, Peter Berg, and Judy Goldhaft.
Jonestown airs Sunday the 26th at 8 p.m. on KRCB channel 22.
Summer of Love airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on KCSM channel 17.