March 20, 2019

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What’s on TV Sunday: ‘The Orville’ and ‘Selection Day’

What’s on TV Sunday: ‘The Orville’ and ‘Selection Day’
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Seth MacFarlane’s “Star Trek” sendup returns to Fox. And an adaptation of an Aravind Adiga novel debuts on Netflix.

THE ORVILLE 8 p.m. on Fox. When this series debuted last year, it marked a bit of a departure for Seth MacFarlane, the “Family Guy” funnyman. The high-energy, animated vulgarity of that show and MacFarlane’s “American Dad” is dialed down here, replaced with drier humor and a heavy helping of “Star Trek” — which is being parodied. MacFarlane plays the captain of a spaceship and crew in uniforms who shoot blasters that would blend right in at a Trekkie convention. In his review of the first season for The New York Times, Mike Hale wrote that the show “emulates the original ‘Trek’ series to a degree somewhere between sincere homage and creepy necrophilia.” It returns for a second season after a yearlong hiatus.

SPACE JAM (1996) 10 p.m. on VH1. This quintessential ’90s kids movie places an animated Bugs Bunny alongside Michael Jordan. Danny DeVito voices the bad guy.

SELECTION DAY on Netflix. In his 2016 novel, “Selection Day,” the writer Aravind Adiga (who won the Man Booker Prize in 2008 for “The White Tiger”) explored the lives of a pair of brothers living in a Mumbai slum. They’re raised under the domineering eye of their father, who is set on his sons becoming cricket stars; anything else is, to him, a distraction. Netflix has adapted the novel into an original series, which debuts Sunday.

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT: THE RADIANT CHILD (2010) on Amazon, iTunes and Mubi. A few years before his premature death of a heroin overdose in 1988, the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was filmed by the director Tamra Davis in a rare interview, by Becky Johnson. That footage wasn’t released at the time. Davis ended up using it as the centerpiece of this documentary profile of the artist, which also has interviews with some of Basquiat’s peers, like the artist Julian Schnabel. In his review for The Times, Stephen Holden wrote that the film “places Basquiat’s art in a cultural context with an enthusiasm and zest that make the many pictures shown come blazingly alive.”

EATING ANIMALS (2018) on Hulu. Natalie Portman is now on movie theater screens in Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux,” a film that addresses two complicated elements of modern American life: mass shootings and pop stars. In “Eating Animals,” she takes on a third: factory farming. Following in the footsteps of “Food, Inc.” and Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation,” Christopher Dillon Quinn’s documentary adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2009 book — with Portman as a narrator — forces audiences to think about where their food comes from. In his review for The Times, Ben Kenigsberg wrote that the film skewers factory farming “from philosophical, epidemiological and even economic perspectives.” He noted that “it seems impossible to come away from it without wanting to know more about where your meat comes from.” It hits Hulu right in time to inspire New Year’s resolutions.



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