1) Earth Day films, Disney+. On most Earth Days, DisneyNature has a gorgeous film in movie theaters. Now, however, “Polar Bear” has gone straight to streaming; it’s one of three documentaries debuting today on Disney+. “Explorer: The Last Tepui” has climber Alex Honnold (“Free Solo”) take a biologist to an untouched “island in the sky”; “The Biggest Little Farm: The Return” (shown here) follows the city folks who have made an 81-acre mini-farm into an eco-friendly success.
2) More Earth Day. You can find collections of Earth-oriented shows on Paramount+. Discovery+ and Netflix – which recently debuted the gorgeous “Our Great National Parks,” narrated by Barack Obama. There’s more at PBS.org; also, PBS Kids has several episodes during the day, including an “Elinor Wonders Why” (7 and 9 p.m.) that debuted this week. And from 8-10 p.m., CW has “2040,” an upbeat documentary that envisions new generations healing the planet.
3) “Now Hear This,” 9 p.m., PBS. Aaron Copland’s best-known compositions – “Appalachian Spring,” “Fanfare for the Common Man” – have an Americana feeling, suitable for sprawling expanse. So it makes sense that a good chunk of this hour is spent amid the beauty of Colorado. But Copland grew up as a city kid, above his father’s store. In an excellent hour, Scott Yoo goes to Brooklyn, to see how Jewish music and Yiddish folk songs helped shape what became a wide-ranging music master.
4) “Paper Moon” (1973), 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies. Peter Bogdanovich, who died in January at 82, made his best films a half-century ago. Here they are, out of order, starting with this tale of a Depression-era conman. “The Last Picture Show” (1971), Larry McMurtry’s portrait of small-town Texas youth, is 10 p.m., followed at 12:15 by the comedy “What’s Up Doc?” These brought supporting Oscars for Tatum O’Neal (just 10 years old) in “Paper Moon” and Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson in “Picture Show.”
5) ALSO: As the NBA play-offs begin, it’s basketball everywhere. Tonight, ABC has the Bucks and Bulls at 8:30 p.m ET.; ESPN has Miami and Atlanta at 7 and Phoenix and New Orleans at 9:30. Or you can relive past basketball triumphs: “They Call Me Magic,” a fascinating, four-part documentary about Magic Johnson, arrives today on Apple TV+. Also arriving: two popular dramas for their second seasons. Netflix has Natasha Lyonne in “Russian Doll”; HBO Max has Kaley Cuoco in “The Flight Attendant.”
— By Mike Hughes, TV American
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