The maybe-final episodes of “Arrested Development” hit Netflix. And a new documentary on Richard Pryor is on TV.
ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT Stream on Netflix. The first time this sharp, reliably unconventional takedown of upper-crust America wrapped up was in 2006, when Fox canceled it after three seasons. The show’s somewhat unlikely Netflix-powered return in 2013 brought back the wealthy Bluth family — including Michael (Jason Bateman), Lucille (Jessica Walter), Gob (Will Arnett) and George-Michael (Michael Cera) — for a fourth, somewhat more conventional outing that was met with middling reviews from critics. When the first half of the fifth season was released last year, much of the discussion focused not on the show itself but on one of its stars, Jeffrey Tambor, who had been accused of sexual misconduct on the set of the Amazon series “Transparent” and dropped from that series. Now, Netflix is releasing the second half of Season 5. This set of episodes continues plot arcs from the first half of the season, including a missing person investigation and an attempt to build a wall on the Mexican border.
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART (2015) Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. In a review of the Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s new film, “Ash Is Purest White,” for The New York Times, A. O. Scott called him “one the most inventive and engaged directors of the 21st century.” Jia’s previous movie, “Mountains May Depart,” takes place at the very end of the 20th century and during two periods in the 21st. It centers on Tao (Zhao Tao), a worker in a small store in the city of Fenyang. The first part, set in 1999, shows Tao’s relationships with two men, Zhang Jinsheng (Zhang Yi) and Liangzi (Liang Jin Dong). She eventually chooses one. The effects of that decision echo in the film’s two other time frames: 2014 and 2025. Jia’s approach “means that you have to do a certain amount of interpretive work,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The Times. But patience will be rewarded.
What’s on TV
MARY SHELLEY (2018) 8 p.m. on Showtime. Elle Fanning plays Mary Shelley in this biopic, directed by the groundbreaking Saudi filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour. The movie gives equal weight to the origin story of Shelley herself and the origin story of her novel “Frankenstein.”
I AM RICHARD PRYOR 10 p.m. on Paramount Network and 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central. Fresh off a recent premiere at South by Southwest, this documentary about Richard Pryor enlists an assortment of voices to paint a portrait of one of the most influential comedians ever to wield a microphone. While its straightforward blend of talking heads and archival clips is more conventional than its subject, the film — built around interviews with Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, and entertainers like Tiffany Haddish, Howie Mandel and Lily Tomlin — gives an overview of Pryor’s career alongside discussion of the boundaries he pushed and, in some cases, obliterated.
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