Sunday TV: Another Man Falls to Earth

There would seem no reason to remake a movie so well associated with David Bowie, but the smartly-written new series version of “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (Showtime, 10 p.m.) has plenty of its own charm, thanks largely to the total commitment of Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role and nearly as good work from Naomie Harris as a scientist who unwillingly takes him under her wing out in the expanses of the American west. And then Bill Nighy shows up. 

It’s almost becoming a cliche to dramatize history of the past half century through casting alone. The new “Gaslit” (Starz, 8 p.m.) boasts Juia Roberts as Martha Mitchell, of all people in a Watergate saga that has Sean Penn as John Mitchell (thanks to more prosthetic makeup since Russell Crowe played Roger Ailes). The alarming story of a high-powered husband trying to muzzle his whistleblowing wife may be instructive in the present political atmosphere.

Another crack at “Billy the Kid” (Epix, 10 p.m.) concentrates on the early days of the notorious outlaw, flashing back to the roots of his Irish family, from the makers of “Vikings.” Tom Blyth and Jonah Collier star. 

The big news may be that “Barry” (HBO, 10 p.m.) is back for its third season — nearly three years after season two ended. As entertaining as it is, it’s an example of a show that strains credulity since it’s stressed the danger but never killed off any major characters. Still, they’ve become kind of expert in cramming the humor into the corner details of the central (and increasingly implausible) action. Bill Hader, Stephen Root, Henry Winkler, Sarah Goldberg and Anthony Carrigan are all back. 

It’s accompanied by a weird British import, “The Baby” (HBO, 10:30 p.m.), starring Michelle de Swarte as a woman who suddenly and spectacularly finds a baby in her arms.

The documentary about the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the 2020 assassination attempt on him is the subject of the documentary “Navalny” (CNN, 9 p.m.). 

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Saturday TV: Bogdanovich’s ‘Saint Jack’

Turner Classic Movies’ two-night salute to Peter Bogdanavich, who died in January at 82 concludes with the little seen “Saint Jack” (8 p.m.), starring Ben Gazzara as an American pimp in Saigon, based on a novel by Paul Theroux. The book had been suggested to Bogdanovich and his girlfriend Cybill Shepherd by Orson Welles; the rights were owned by Playboy Productions, but Shepherd was involved in a $9 million lawsuit against the magazine for publishing unauthorized photographs, so the rights to “Sait Jack’ became part of the settlement. And Hugh Hefner got a credit as executive producer. Denholm Elliott, George Lazenby and Bogdanovich himself co-star. 

It’s followed by Bogdanovich’s final film, his 2018 documentary about Buster Keaton, “The Great Buster: A Celebration” (10:15 p.m.).

Rescue dogs figure into the made-for-TV romance “A Tail of Love” (Hallmark, 8 p.m.), starring Chris McNally and Brittany Bristow.

The made-for-TV “Greed: A Seven Deadly Sins Story” (Lifetime, 8 p.m.), Monique Coleman plays an interior decorator who is tempted by a wealthy benefactor. 

“Heartland Docs, DVM” (Nat Geo Wild, 10 p.m.) returns for a fourth season. 

Jordan Klepper, Nikki James, John Hodgkin and Michael Urie join Aasif Mandvi on “Would I Lie to You?” (CW, 8:30 p.m.). 

The recent box office hit “The Batman” (HBO, 8 p.m.) with Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano and Colin Farrell, makes its premium cable debut. 

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Friday TV: Foy in ‘A Very British Scandal’

Having played Queen Elizabeth on “The Crown,” Claire Foy plays a lesser royal — Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll, an icy gold-digging socialite who snared the odious Ian Campbell, Duke of Argyll (Paul Bettany) in order to snare his estate. It all fell apart and was all over the British tabloids in the early 1960s. The story is retold in the three-part “A Very British Scandal” (Amazon Prime, streaming), replete with some very high production values.

The life of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, currently being dramatized in HBO’s entertaining “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” is now recounted by the subject himself in the new four-part documentary series “They Call Me Magic” (Apple TV+, streaming) covering his childhood to his to his NBA career to his businesses successes. 

Another basketball star gets a documentary series in “The Long Game: Bigger Than Basketball” (Apple TV+, streaming), about Makur Maker, who decided to play for Howard University instead of going straight to the NBA. 

A number of environmental-minded specials take have Earth Day premieres. Chief among them, “Explorer: The Last Tepui” (Disney+, streaming) is a stunning National Geographic tale chronicling the effort of biologist Bruce Means to look for new species on the wall of a 1,000-foot jungle plateau in Guyana, using top climbers that include Alex Honnold, star of “Free Solo.” The result is part science, part adventure with striking cinematography throughout. Here’s an interview I did with the director.

Catherine Keener narrates “Polar Bear” (Disney+, streaming), the latest entry in the Disneynature series.

Other glimpses of nature creatures are found on “Wild Coasts” (Nat Geo Wild, 6 p.m.), and all four parts of “Secrets of the Whales” (National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, 7 p.m.). 

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Film: Baseball’s Intimidating Strike King

If anybody in the last half century of baseball deserves a bio film, it’s Nolan Ryan, the hard throwing Texan pitcher, who racked up dozens of records in a 27 year career, including seven perfect games, and 5,714 career strikeouts — which is more than 800 more than the next person.

That the taciturn Hall of Famer is still around as a kindly old grandfather and willing to talk a little more freely about his career and accomplishments helps make Bradley Jackson’s “Facing Nolan” the kind of high quality documentary you’d expect on ESPN’s “30 for 30.”

Not only does an array of famous players he faced attest to how intimidating he was on the mound, but a past President of the United States stops in to marvel at his accomplishments as well. Then again, George W. Bush was also once part owner of the Texas Rangers, where Ryan pitched from 1989 to 1993. Still, Bush seems much more happy to be talking baseball than politics.

Jackson has a lot of high points to cover, but switches them around a bit for drama, starting with the late-career final strike out in his second-to-last game, and holding off the celebrations for his seventh no-hitter in 1991. These are explained by an overly-folksy narrator (Mike MacRae) who thankfully doesn’t step in too often.

There is a wealth of clips for Jackson to employ, and when there isn’t, the bio has a similarly lanky right-hander firing to a catcher in an empty stadium two illustrate. Part of Ryan’s success, we learn early on, is his family, and his charming, ever-patient wife Ruth is a main character from the start. 

His children also play a role as interview subjects before the camera, and two are behind it — sons Reese Ryan and Reid Ryan are listed as executive producers. Grandchildren give glowing testimonials at the end.

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Thursday TV: ‘The Flight Attendant’ is Back

Kaley Cuoco returns for the second season of “The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max, streaming). The former stewardess is living in Los Angeles, where she is a part time CIA asset. But witnessing a murder leads her into another caper in a season shot in Berlin and Reykjavik. It begins with two episodes, with new episode each Thursday. 

The Latin American Music Awards (Telemundo, 8 p.m.), hosted by Alix Aspe and Andrea Meza, originates from Las Vegas, with performances from Black Eyed Peas with Ukrainian singer NK. Bad Bunny has the most nominations, with 10.

The latest investigative comedy from Jordan Klepper has a pretty long title: “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Presents Jordan Klepper Fingers the Globe: Hungary for Democracy” (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m.). 

Ryan Reynolds has some ideas on how to fight climate change on “Curb Your Carbon” (Discovery+, streaming).

From Japan comes “He’s Expecting” (Netflix, streaming) about a businessman who finds himself with child.

The special “All About Gila” (Netflix, streaming) has Spanish comedians replicating bits from Miguel Gila. 

A group of rising comedians do short sets on “Marlon Wayons Presents: The Headliners” (HBO Max, streaming). 

The true crime documentary series “Captive Audience: A Real American Horror Story” (Hulu, streaming) revives the 1972 case of a missing 7-year-old who reportedly returns seven years later. 

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Wednesday TV: ‘Russian Doll’ Returns

Three years after its first season got some attention and Emmy nominations “Russian Doll” (Netflix, streaming) is back for a second season and a new concept as Natasha Lyonne’s character Natasha and Alan (Charlie Barnett) find a way to time travel to 1982 via the Astor Place subway. 

Held 30 years ago tonight in London to commemorate the death of the lead singer of Queen, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness featured performances from Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses, plus the remaining members of Queen performing with guests that included Elton John, Roger Daltry, David Bowie, George Michael, Robert Plant — and Liza Minnelli. The story of how the concert came together is told in the BBC documentary “Freddie Mercury: The Final Act” (CW, 8 p.m.) getting a stateside broadcast premiere.

The groundbreaking Latin hip hop group tells their story in the documentary special “Cypress Hill: insane in the Brain” (Showtime, 8 p.m.). 

“Changing Planet” (PBS, 8 p.m.) is the first episode in what will be a seven year project, revisiting the seven specific spots on Earth and reporting on any changes that had happened each year near Earth Day

“So Dumb It’s Criminal Hosted by Snoop Dogg” (Peacock, streaming) is a new series in which the rapper reviews some of the stupidest crime attempts.

In the Colombian import “Palpate” (Netflix, streaming) is a drama series about organ trafficking and the vengeance sought by a man whose wife was murdered in order to extract her heart. 

The third season of MTV’s reality show leads to the third season of “The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans” (Paramount+, streaming). Featuring much of the original cast from 2000, now in their 40s. 

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Tuesday TV: How Big Oil Thwarted Action

A sprawling and deeply-researched new three-part report on “Frontline” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings) concentrates on the fossil fuel industry and their efforts to bury proof of its role in delaying and preventing action on climate change in the past 40 years. A natural for Earth Day, it also comes at a time when big companies are gouging customers at the pumps and the war in Ukraine shows how dependent the world still is dependent on oil. Newly recovered reports from the 1970s show that Exxon, for one, knew what it was doing in stonewalling what it knew. “The Power of Big Oil” continues on two subsequent Tuesdays. 

Another new documentary “White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch” (Netflix, streaming) looks at the rise of the macho mall fashion store.

A two-part documentary series “Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders” (Sundance Now, streaming) looks at the murders connected to the English serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper.

Australian golfer Greg Norman talks about how he tended to come in second in major tournaments in a new documentary for “30 for 30” (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.) called “Shark.”

After eight seasons and 175 episodes, “Black-ish” (ABC, 9 p.m.), a series that’s been both funny and consequential comes to an end. It’s as it should be; family sitcoms should wrap up after the kids grow up and leave the nest. After spawning two spin-offs, and creating stars like Yara Shahidi, while bolstering vets like Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne, it ends tonight with preparations for Pops and Ruby to move away. “Black-ish: A Celebration — an ABC News Special” (ABC, 9:30 p.m.) follows, and the cast will be guests on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (ABC, 11:35 p.m.). 

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Capital Radio, 2-18-22: Taxes, Running

Tax Day meant songs about the nation’s least favorite occasion, from the Beatles, Charley Patton, Sharon Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Johnny Paycheck, among others. Then a meditation on money itself, from Elmore James to the Pet Shop Boys with Lefty Frizzell, The Notorious B.I.G. Randy Newman and of course, Barrett Strong.

Noted the birthday of Glen D. Hardin, pianist and arranger for Elvis Presley and Gram Parsons, as well as the 80th of esteemed rock critic Robert Christgau, with eight from his list of favorites. Commemorated last weekend’s show by James McMurtry with a few cuts. And closed with encouraging tunes for those still straggling to finish todays’s Boston Marathon.

Listen to the full archived show here. The setlist follows:

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Monday TV: ‘Better Call Saul’ Comes Back

Top-notch TV returns with the sixth and final season of “Better Call Saul” (AMC, 9 p.m.), the prequel which will have to connect with the start of “Breaking Bad.” Already Jimmy McGill is turning into Saul Goodman even as he and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) find a new way to work together. A whole lot of menace is found amid the cartel runners as well. With its unusual low angles and fine photography, “Saul” is a show that can run several minutes without dialogue (despite Saul’s yappy nature). It’s clear the show runners are getting better and better at making great TV, while the actors slightly undermine the story by looking older now in the prequel than they did in the main series.

Having made $750 million at the box office since its release just last month, “The Batman” (HBO Max, streaming) seemingly has nothing to lose by quickly becoming available on a streaming service. 

The Boston Marathon (USA, 8:30 a.m.) returns to its regular Patriot’s Day schedule for the first time in three years. 

In the new series “Hidden Assets” (AcornTV, streaming) Irish cops connect a drug dealer to a diamond smuggler. Angeline Ball and Wouter Hendricks star. 

“The Good Karma Hospital” (AcornTV, streaming) ends its fourth season. 

Three Latinx people at the last abortion clinic on the U.S.-Mexico border are followed in the documentary “On the Divide,” making its debut on “POV” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

“My Brilliant Friend” (HBO, 10 p.m.) ends its third season. 

Sam and family go to England on “Better Things” (FX, 10 p.m.).

The finale of the documentary series “The Invisible Pilot” (HBO, 9 p.m.) may or may not answer every question. 

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Sunday TV: ‘The First Lady’ on Showtime

The latest series to make a drama out of history by using interesting casting, “The First Lady” (Showtime, 9 p.m.) is at least partly successful. Mostly it’s in the parts where Michelle Pfeiffer brilliantly plays Betty Ford in displaying her undertold story. 

It weaves in between two other stories that have been more often told (one in a big bestseller). As great as Viola Davis is, she seems too old at 56 to play the younger Michelle Obama. And Gillian Anderson, fresh off playing Margaret Thatcher, portrays Eleanor Roosevelt as just another of her English-American hybrid characters. The valiant effort will switch to other First Ladies in subsequent seasons. I for one am waiting for the Malania one. 

“Fear the Walking Dead” (AMC, 9 p.m.) returns with a new episode. 

Moses is still trying to evade the police on “61st Street” (AMC, 10:07 p.m.).

The spin-off “Power Book IV: Force” (Start, 8 p.m.) ends its first season; it’s been renewed for a second.

“The Equalizer” (CBS, 8 p.m.) turns to her ex-husband for medical treatment on a gunshot victim. 

Georgiana faces down her future on “Sanditon” (PBS, 9 p.m., check local listings).

“S.W.A.T.” (CBS, 10 p.m.) hunts down an eco-terrorist, in their version of an Earth Day episode.

Bash has to choose between a gang member who has been shot and the police officer on him on “Transplant” (NBC, 10 p.m.). 

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