After a hard-partying weekend, we Scholars are ready for some reflective and/or cultured fare this Monday. Oh, who are we kidding, we mostly watched true crime on the couch and ate chips, but the best new programming tonight is all stuff you do not have to hide from your friends, including two documentaries which should probably be required viewing for anyone living in our racially divided (and ultimately racist, yeah, we’ll say it) society.
Angela Black [Spectrum]
Joanne Froggatt’s Anna Bates was a high point of the always reliable–if sometimes mundane–Downton Abbey, so I’ll gladly watch this Aussie thriller featuring Froggatt as an abused wife who gets the surprise help of a private investigator on his case.
Independent Lens: Owned–A Tale of Two Americas [PBS, 10p]
This sturdy PBS anthology has some really eye-opening documentaries, but that can sometimes be a depressing thing. Case in point is the next film in the series. It tells the history of American housing policies. In the end two Americas remain. On of wealth and one one of poverty, segregation and subjugation.
One Thousand Years of Slavery–The Untold Story [Smithsonian, 8p]
This four-part series, produced by Angela Bassett, explores the origins of slavery while confronting its existence today. Expect to hear from Black entertainers and historians, including Debbie Allen, Valerie Jarrett, Lorraine Toussaint, Soledad O’Brien, CCH Pounder, Senator Cory Booker, Marc Morial, and Dulé Hill.
BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:
- Whatever you think of the VH1 reality franchise Love & Hip-Hop, this two-part special (on the same network) is a worthy watch as eight of the cast members get the Henry Louis Gates (minus Gates) treatment and trace their heritage back to its African roots on Love & Hip-Hop: Lineage to Legacy.
- It’s not easy being The Cleaning Lady with the Mafia’s chaotic ire always hanging over her head. This week she has to essentially choose between not rocking the mob’s boat vs. helping a friend’s immigration status. The Fox series is one of the more promising new network shows of 2022.
- Honestly, we’re not all that familiar with the ALLBLK variety/sketch/real-talk show Social Society, but that is one of the roaringest titles of the 2020s so far, so that might make it worth a watch. And the hyperlinked clip above is pretty funny.
- And without any Lifetime/Hallmark style movies standing out, we’ll end on a show we don’t even really feel like talking about, yet here we are. TLC plumbs the depths of exploitation with the new fat-gawking show 1000 Lb Best Friends. If we’re wrong and there’s some sensitive, life-affirming moments on this show, please let us know. But the bit we just watched about Kambucha does not give us that much hope.