What’s on TV
DESUS & MERO 11 p.m. on Showtime. After merging her eye with Disney’s in last year’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” the director Ava DuVernay is returning this week with “When They See Us,” a Netflix series about the Central Park Five. She’ll talk about the series as the guest on this episode of Desus Nice and the Kid Mero’s recently reborn late-night show. Her Netflix drama, about the teenage boys wrongly (and infamously) convicted of rape in 1989 and the decades that followed, marks a return to the kinds of racial injustice issues DuVernay dissected in the documentary “13th” and her breakthrough feature, “Selma.” The new series is due out Friday; her appearance here would make for a good preface.
BLACKKKLANSMAN (2018) 10:45 p.m. on HBO. Spike Lee finally shared his first competitive Oscar in February for his work on the screenplay for this feature, but he didn’t need the academy’s overdue recognition for it to be clear that “BlacKkKlansman” was a success. In his review for The New York Times, A.O. Scott called the movie Lee’s “best nondocumentary feature in more than a decade and one of his greatest.” John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth, the first African-American officer hired by the Colorado Springs Police Department, whose 2014 memoir was the basis for the movie. Stallworth infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan with the help of Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), a white detective who is Jewish, and manages to strike up a phone-based friendship with David Duke (Topher Grace).
20TH CENTURY WOMEN (2016) Stream on Amazon and Kanopy; Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. Both Mike Mills and Annette Bening have been in the news recently: Mills for his collaboration with the indie rock band the National and Bening for her Tony-nominated performance in the current Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” Back in 2016, Mills directed Bening in this critically acclaimed story about a teenager, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), who lives with his divorced mom, Dorothea (Bening), in a Southern California home. Also living there are a boarder played by Billy Crudup and an artist played by Greta Gerwig, who, along with Jamie’s friend Julie (Elle Fanning), make up the ensemble of a movie whose overriding interest is in its mother-son relationship. In her review for The Times, Manohla Dargis wrote that the film is “a memory movie, one in which people are conjured up to bump against the larger world, exuberantly and uneasily.”
NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Stream on Facebook. The National Symphony Orchestra will perform with the Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi under the baton of the orchestra’s music director, Gianandrea Noseda, at a concert at the Kennedy Center on Thursday. The program includes works by Ottorino Respighi, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alfredo Casella. It comes hot on the heels of the orchestra’s concert at Carnegie Hall earlier this month, which Anthony Tommasini, in a review for The Times, called “exhilarating.” Thursday’s performance will be streamed live on the orchestra’s Facebook page.