#BLACKAF Stream on Netflix. “We’re celebrating my dad’s new Netflix show,” Drea (Iman Benson) says at the self-referential beginning of this new sitcom. “I don’t know exactly what it’s about, but pretty sure it has something to do with black stuff.” Created by the screenwriter Kenya Barris (“black-ish,” “Girls Trip”), “#blackAF” stars Barris as a fictionalized, exaggerated version of himself. The show’s Kenya is a successful, cynical screenwriter living an extravagant Los Angeles life and raising children with his wife, played by Rashida Jones. The show explores issues of race, class and wealth — with family dynamics that should resonate well beyond the story’s rarefied setting. “Most families are functionally dysfunctional,” Barris said in a recent interview about the show with The New York Times. “You want the house to be a little bit messy,” he added. “You want the mom to be a little bit frayed. The dad to be a bit out of touch. Some of those things are just part of what family is. I want people to realize that that dysfunction is part of our functionality.”
SELAH AND THE SPADES (2020) Stream on Amazon. This debut feature from the filmmaker Tayarisha Poe was praised by critics when it debuted at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. Set at a fictional, prestigious boarding school in Pennsylvania, the movie centers on Selah (Lovie Simone), the head of a powerful clique who takes under her wing a new student, Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), whom she mentors in navigating the school’s knotted social order. The dynamic between the two shifts when Paloma begins to threaten Selah’s grasp on social power. In her review for The Times, Teo Bugbee called the film “exceptionally composed.” Poe, she wrote, “designs her frames with care and sets a languid pace, a relief from the desperate freneticism of many teenage tales.”
HERE WE ARE: NOTES FOR LIVING ON PLANET EARTH (2020) Stream on Apple TV Plus. The artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers’s children’s book “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth” gets an infusion of star power in this animated short film adaptation. Ruth Negga and Chris O’Dowd voice parents walking their young son through essential pieces of knowledge, like why humans keep track of time. Meryl Streep narrates.
HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2017) 8 p.m. on TCM. Harold Michelson was a storyboard artist, art director and production designer who worked on classic movies including “The Graduate,” “West Side Story” and “Spaceballs.” Lillian Michelson was a film researcher who contributed to “Scarface,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and more. Together, they were a behind-the-scenes Hollywood power couple. Their lives and work are profiled in this documentary from Daniel Raim, which includes interviews with its two subjects and some of their friends and collaborators, including Francis Ford Coppola and Mel Brooks. In her review for The Times, Monica Castillo wrote that the film “maintains a free-flowing tone as it uncovers the work that went into creating some of the indelible scenes in Hollywood history.”