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These movies captured Ginsburg’s wonderful life

Two movies captured opposite ends of Ruth Ginsburg’s wonderful life.
There was the early Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex” (2018) – struggling to get a job, to get a foothold, then to change the world. At 39, she started the Women’s Rights Project.
And there’s the later Gingsburg of the “RBG” documentary (also 2018). At 85, she was a Supreme Court justice with a string of triumphs.
Ginsburg (shown here) died Friday (Sept. 18) at 87, but her story lingers in those films. Both are available via Amazon, iTunes and YouTube. “RBG” is also on Hulu; “On the Basis of Sex” is on the Showtime streaming service and the Showtime add-on for Amazon Prime; it’s also scheduled on Showtime2, at 9 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 20), 1:20 p.m. Sept. 25 and 4:15 p.m. Sept. 29. Read more…

ABC’s dramas return; CBS sets movie night

The wobbly plans for the new TV season have received a couple boosts lately.
One is a temporary step: Next month, CBS will revert to making Sunday an old-movie night.
And the other is more thorough: ABC will have most of its dramas return in November.
One ABC drama (“The Good Doctor,” shown here) returns on Nov. 2; five more arrive Nov. 12-19. That includes “Big Sky” from David E. Kelley (“L.A. Law,” “Ally McBeal,” “Big Little Lies”); its arrival on Nov. 17 should make it the season’s first new, scripted show on the five commercial broadcast networks. Read more…

ABC comedies return next month

There will be some laughter this autumn, after all.
ABC says its Wednesday situation comedies — including “The Conners,” shown here — will start their seasons on Oct. 21 and 28. They’ll be virtually the only sitcoms (not counting reruns and cartoons) in primetime.
Networks have assembled makeshift line-ups for the fall, strong on reality shows and a few dramas. For sitcoms, however, the field is smaller: Read more…

“Van der Valk”: English actors, Dutch settings, strong stories

Piet Van der Valk is sort of your standard TV (or movie) detective.
He’s handsome and brooding; he’s single and lives on a boat. Handsome detectives often brood; they also live in odd places – boats or bars or backrooms or such.
What’s unusual about him, though, is that he’s:
1) On PBS, in a smart and deeply layered show. “Masterpiece: Van der Volk” (shown here) is 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, 20 and 27). You could call it the first scripted show of the broadcast TV season; it’s a good one … and a huge jump over this summer’s disappointing “Endeavour.” Read more…

Gene-editing stokes sci-fi type dreams, fears

The worlds of science-fiction and science-fact seem to collide when the subject turns to CRISPR.
That’s a type of “gene-editing” (illustrated here) which could lead to something very good – blocking genetic diseases. Or to some very bad forms of human engineering.
This debate has come up before, Alta Charo told the Television Critics Assoication recently. “Each time, we (ask): ‘Are we able to withstand the temptation to do things that are really destructive to the fabric of society and yet keep the value to prevent disease and help build families.”
She’s a University of Wisconsin professor, both a lawyer and a bioethicist. And she’s one of the key people in a compelling “Nova” season-opener, from 8-10 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 9) on PBS. Read more…

“Mulan”: Great at home, better in theaters

I just remembered why I love movies – the big, sweeping kind that fill the screen and fill your eyes and ears and thoughts.
I also found that I miss seeing them in their natural habitat. Watching one at home is great fun; watching it in a movie theater would have been much better.
This comes up because people can now pay extra and see “Mulan” (shown here) – the new adventure epic, not the 1998 cartoon – at home.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, of course. Disney spent $200 million on “Mulan,” creating a mega-movie for theaters. It had its premiere March 9 … moments before the COVID shutdown Read more…

FX film digs into the Breonna Taylor case

In the heated debate over Breonna Taylor’s death, David James is situated perfectly.
The argument has multiple sides – police, politicians, Blacks and officials. He happens to fit all of those – a Black councilman in Louisville and a former narcotics officer who spent 14 years as a cop.
And now he’s key to “The New York Times Presents,” at 10 p.m. Friday (Sept. 4) on FX and Hulu.
This is an extensive look – an hour without commercials, 81 minutes on FX. It has a brief portrayal of Taylor, 26, described by friends, her mother and her boyfriend (Kenneth Walker, shown here with Taylor) as an upbeat soul, an emergency medical technician at work, a fun person at home. Then it gets into the case. Read more…

Boseman’s films offered quality and variety

(Disney’s grand gesture — showing “Black Panther on ABC, commercial free, as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman — has ended now, but plenty of other Boseman films are available. Here’s the story I posted Saturday and updated Sunday.)
The flow of tributes to the late Chadwick Boseman now includes an unprecedented one:
At 8 p.m. today (Sunday, Aug. 30), ABC will show his “Black Panther” movie commercial-free. That will be followed by a special – “Chadwick Boseman — Tribute For a King” – from 10:20 to 11 p.m.
Boseman played the king of a fictional African land in “Black Panther,” but he also played real-life heroes – Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall – and music superstar James Bown.
He had a six-year stretch of great movie roles. Now we learn that for four of those years, he was fighting colon cancer.
He died at 43 on Friday (Aug. 28), which happened to be Jackie Robinson Day for Major League Baseball. In the days ahead, viewers can catch his work on TV and via streaming. Read more…

ABC sets specials on Washington march, shark survivor

ABC News has set specials on two opposite subjects –one about a massive march (shown here) and the other an individual ordeal. They are:
FRIDAY (Aug. 28): On the 57th anniversary of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” ABC will rerun “The March.” Narrated by Denzel Washington, the 2013 film interviewed John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Joan Baez, Oprah Winfrey and others, including Clarence Jones, who helped draft Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Read more…