电视转播: 'White Lotus' checked in this summer, but documentaries were worth checking out

TV OT is a weekly look at what CNN’s entertainment team is watching since too much television has us all working overtime.

The White Lotus was almost surely the show of the summer, there was plenty to watch over the last few Covid-impacted months, including the Olympics, which despite a ratings downturn can still put a lump in your throat.

Summer is often associated with light escapism, but with the theatrical box office still hobbled, TV remains our go-to distraction. And rifling through reviews post-Memorial Day the quality of documentary programming really stood out, from docuseries to individual films available (primarily) via streaming services and premium networks.
The end of the summer has brought an unfortunate deluge of Sept. 11-related programs marking its 20th anniversary — “unfortunatenot because some of those productions aren’t good, but because the sheer weight of them has served to cancel each other out.
    在那之前, the summer was punctuated by a variety of documentary fare, including trips down memory lane with 巴拉克奥巴马, Paul McCartney, Val Kilmer and the Summer of Soul.
      Summer of Soul,” culled from long-lost footage of the Harlem Music Festival of 1969, might have topped them all. It’s available on Hulu, as is McCartney 3,2,1, a music-centric look at the former Beatle’s life and influences, shot in understated black and white.
        Sly Stone performs at the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969, featured in the documentary 'Summer of Soul' (Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures).

        Val,” 与此同时, now on Amazon, offered a touching look back at Val Kilmer’s careerand a fascinating glimpse into the working of Hollywoodmade more poignant by the cancer that has largely robbed him of his voice; 和 “奥巴马: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union chronicled the audacity of Barack Obama’s political rise over three nights and roughly five hours on HBO (哪一个, like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia).
        Other noteworthy documentary-style efforts included HBO’s In the Same Breath,” director Nanfu Wang’s look at the Covid outbreak in Wuhan and the US, featuring secretly shot footage out of China; 和 Gossip,” a four-part Showtime series about how gossip columns swallowed the news business in the 1990s.
          President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on his first day in office in 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

          There are plenty more good documentaries on the near horizon, such as Ken Burnsupcoming deep dive (is there any other kind) 进入 “Muhammad Alifor PBS. But there’s also a deluge of new sitcoms and dramas post-Labor Daybeyond just the traditional push from the major networksso maybe, 只是也许, we can all take a well-deserved break from reality. Just hopefully not like the guests at White Lotus.

          A tribute to the King of Cringe

          Laura Dern and Mike White in 'Enlightened.'

          说起 “The White Lotus,” the show inspired CNN’s Sandra Gonzalez to go back to Mike White’s earlier HBO series, “Enlightened,” and she filed this dispatch from the way-back machine:
          Post-‘White Lotus,’ I’ve been on something of a Mike White-a-thon by watching ‘Enlightenedfor the first time. This is where I’d normally launch into a hearty endorsement of the show, but I won’t. It’s not that this isn’t an exceptional seriesit really is and Laura Dern deserved all the praise it brought herbut I do not think it’s for everyone. If you have severe social anxiety, 事实上, it may be too much for you to handle. I know this, because the series is frequently too much for me to handle.
          I’m into the second season at the moment and just watched an episode where Dern’s Amy, a well-meaning but frequently misguided human, joins Twitter for the first time. For Amythe type of person that is on an unending searching for meaning in her own life and validationTwitter can be a blessing and/or a curse. Usually both. 在这种情况下, it’s clear that all Amy has done by joining the platform is find a second place to be ignored in life. In one scene, she accosts a co-worker to begin following her moments after creating her account. 在另一个, she’s talking to a celebrated advocate and preaching the power of ‘twittering.In the middle of both scenes, I paused the show to die.
          It’s a move I find myself doing at least once an episode. Sometimes Amy displays such cringe-y behavior that I have to pause, curl in a small ball and relive all of my own embarrassing moments. Am I as cringe-worthy as Amy? Dear my lord Luke Wilson, I hope not. But if you were to ask my anxiety, the answer is a rousing, ‘Of course you are.
          Watching the show is not unlike watching a really great horror moviemy heart races, my palms get sweaty and sometimes I cover my eyes with my hands and watch through my fingers. 类别: social horror, 如果你愿意.
          All that to say, thanks for the nightmares, Mike White.

          Another round of battling billionaires, or the rock ’em sock ’em rich

          David Costabile, Damian Lewis and Maggie Siff in 'Billions.'

          “数十亿” had to cut its season in half because of Covid, and it’s back this Sunday without missing a beat, entering a new round of its latest struggle between battlinbillionairesand they don’t even go into space!
          The show continues to follow the bitter feud between Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and Michael Prince (Corey Stoll), which has really become this season’s centerpiece, although there are as usual plenty of tentacles to that as well as separate crises for Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti) and other supporting players.
          Frankly, the Showtime drama remains fun but feels a little played out in this fifth season, perhaps because there’s only so much betrayal and counter-betrayal and ingenious high-stakes financial double-crossing that one show can comfortably handle.
          Or maybe that’s just me, and your rate of return may vary.

          Sparking joy (or at least a few laughs)

          'Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo' recently returned on Netflix.

          最后, for those looking for a Labor Day escape without braving the roads, CNN’s Megan Thomas sent along some thoughts, and we cobbled together this list of suggestions:
          Marie Kondo returned to Netflix this week to spark more joy in a spinoff of her minimalist-living series, this time with a focus on helping deserving business owners. If watching people tidying up their lives does not spark happiness, here are seven other (new-ish) things to watch to lighten your Labor Day weekend.
          Hacks (HBO Max) – Jeanne Smart is reason enough to watch.
          Ziwe (Showtime) – ZiwerekoruZiweFumudoh delivers distinct and refreshing razor sharp cultural commentary with a smile.
          Vacation Friends (Hulu) – Predictable buddy comedies have stood the test of time for a reason and we love Yvonne Orji.
          What We Do in the Shadows(FX) – The vampire comedy just returned for its second season, and it’s as much fun as ever, for the living and undead alike.
          Dug Days (迪士尼 +) – The cute talking dog from “向上” and the late Ed Asner team up in this adorable series of animated-shorts.
            也, the Disney+ series Monsters at Work continues to be a delightful sequel to “怪兽, Inc., offering a one-two punch for Pixar fans.
            “泰德·拉索” 季节 2 (Apple TV+) Ignore the twitter debates about whether or not the show is living up to its Season 1 hype. 如果 “Carol of the Bells” (Episode 4 of the second season) doesn’t melt your heart, you are a Grinch.