What’s on TV This Week: ‘United Shades of America’ and a Presidential Address

Between network, cable and streaming, the modern television landscape is a vast one. Here are some of the shows, specials and movies coming to TV this week, April 26-May 2. Details and times are subject to change.

SESAME STREET: 50 YEARS OF SUNNY DAYS 8 p.m. on ABC. This two-hour special looks at the ways in which “Sesame Street” has addressed social issues over the decades, centering the show’s recent efforts to diversify its lineup of muppets. Guests in the special include Gloria Estefan, Whoopi Goldberg, Lucy Liu and John Legend; the program would make a natural double feature paired with “Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street,” a recent feature-length documentary that looks at the making of the show.

TANGLED (2010) 6 p.m. on Freeform. Rapunzel got revamped in this Disney adaptation, which updates the look and pacing of that princess tale, and adds music. The result is a “lavish, romantic musical fairy tale,” A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The New York Times, adding that the film “has a story that takes some liberties with the genre; a nimble, kinetic visual style; and a willingness to marry complex psychology with storybook simplicity.”

PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS TO THE JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS 9 p.m. on ABC, CBS, NBC and other networks (check local listings). President Biden will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, in keeping with the tradition of presidents to give such addresses, rather than an official State of the Union, in their inauguration year. The speech may address climate change and racial justice initiatives — particularly given that Biden will be speaking less than a week after he vowed that the United States would cut its global warming emissions at least in half by the end of the decade, and just over a week after the former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis.

EMMA (2020) 5:20 p.m. on HBO Signature. Anya Taylor-Joy was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance as the “handsome, clever and rich” title character in this latest movie adaptation of the Jane Austen novel “Emma.” The story, about romantic entanglements among members of the upper class in the Georgian-era English countryside, is given a candy coating here by the director Autumn de Wilde, whose carefully-crafted, striking color palette may bring to mind another filmmaking confectioner. “It initially seems that de Wilde has adapted the material using Wes Anderson software,” Manohla Dargis wrote in her review for The Times. But, Dargis, added, “after a while, the Anderson-ish tics become less noticeable, and both the emotions and overall movie more persuasive. Much of this has to do with the pleasure of watching people fall on their faces — and in love — and with the suppleness of the largely note-perfect cast.”

SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (2018) 8 p.m. on FX. Spider-Man took his best-received swing through New York in years with “Into the Spider-Verse,” an animated action movie that reimagines the web-spewing hero as Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), a Brooklyn middle schooler who learns that he’s one of many Spider-Man heroes from different dimensions. A.O. Scott called the movie “fresh and exhilarating” in his review for The Times. “The story,” Scott wrote, “is clever and just complicated enough, moving quickly through silly bits, pausing for moments of heart-tugging sentiment, and losing itself in wild creative mischief.”

INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). This year’s International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert, with Herbie Hancock, Andra Day and many others, will be broadcast online in a livestream on YouTube and other sites beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern on Friday. On TV, PBS will air this compilation of archival performances from International Jazz Day concerts from the past decade. Selections include performances by Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox and Hugh Masekela.

TENET (2020) 8 p.m. on HBO. Christopher Nolan’s latest sci-fi brain tickler was technically released in theaters late last summer, but most people didn’t take the pandemic-era risk involved in watching it — so Saturday’s HBO release should stoke fresh discussion among new audiences about what the labyrinthine, time-bending plot is actually about. The film stars John David Washington as a C.I.A. agent tasked with taking down a villainous businessman, Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh). Doing so requires working with an ally played by Robert Pattinson and Sator’s younger wife (Elizabeth Debicki), an art dealer who is undervalued by her husband. Washington’s character, Jessica Kiang wrote in her review for The Times, is “basically James Bond, forward and backward, a kind of 00700, right down to the occasional wry one-liner.” The movie itself, Kiang added, “is undeniably enjoyable, but its giddy grandiosity only serves to highlight the brittleness of its purported braininess.”

INSPIRING AMERICA: THE 2021 INSPIRATION LIST 8 p.m. on NBC and Telemundo. The NBC anchors Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will host the first edition of this new annual event, which recognizes influential people who have used their platforms in positive ways. This year’s honorees include Bubba Wallace, José Andrés and Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, who are slated to be interviewed during Saturday night’s broadcast.

UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA 10 p.m. on CNN. The comedian W. Kamau Bell’s documentary series returns for a sixth season on Sunday night, with a timely episode about the history of policing in America. Bell, who was born in the Bay Area, focuses on Oakland, Calif., and the surrounding area, speaking with politicians, organizers and members of law enforcement about the state of policing in the country.

THE APU TRILOGY (1955-1959) 8 p.m. on TCM. The Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s much-acclaimed trilogy about a Bengali boy becoming a man — Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956) and The World of Apu (1959) — are best viewed together. TCM is showing them back-to-back on Sunday night, starting at 8 p.m. (All three films are also available to stream on the Criterion Channel, for those who don’t want to stay up late to catch “The World of Apu.”)


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