What’s on TV Friday: ‘Catch-22’ and ‘See You Yesterday’
A new adaptation of “Catch-22” debuts on Hulu. And “See You Yesterday,” on Netflix, is a “Back to the Future” for a Black Lives Matter era.
CATCH-22 Stream on Hulu. When Joseph Heller’s satirical World War II novel, “Catch-22,” was released in 1961, Richard G. Stern, in a mostly negative review for The New York Times, wrote that Heller “is like a brilliant painter who decides to throw all the ideas in his sketchbooks onto one canvas, relying on their charm and shock to compensate for the lack of design.” Stern might not have predicted the staying power and influence the book would have, but nobody can deny that it is a tangled read; the book’s fragmented plot and non-sequential narrative make it particularly difficult source material for screen adaptation. (The 1970 film version with Alan Arkin was an exercise in compression.) That challenge was apparently attractive to George Clooney, who is a star, director and executive producer of this stylish new streaming mini-series adaptation. Christopher Abbott (Charlie on “Girls”) leads as Yossarian, the protagonist and an Air Force captain stationed on an island in an Italian archipelago. Clooney and Hugh Laurie play higher-ranking military men.
42ND STREET Stream on BroadwayHD. Over 50 actors made up the ensemble of this English revival of the classic 1980s musical, which ran on London’s West End in 2017. Directed by Mark Bramble, the revival drew praise for its dance numbers (Randy Skinner was the choreographer) as it brought back the musical’s story of backstage drama on 1930s Broadway. When the show debuted on Broadway in 1980, it became a de facto tribute to its original director, Gower Champion, who died hours before the show opened. This revival can be viewed in a similar way for Bramble, who died in February and was also a writer of the musical’s book.
SEE YOU YESTERDAY (2019) Stream on Netflix. The well-worn sci-fi tool of time travel is applied to tragedy in this directorial debut from the filmmaker Stefon Bristol. The movie follows C.J. (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Crichlow), two New York City high school science prodigies who invent time machines. Soon after their successful invention, though, C.J.’s brother is shot and killed by a police officer, leading C.J. and Sebastian to travel back in time in an attempt to prevent his death. A “Back to the Future” for a Black Lives Matter era, the movie’s inventive filming of Brooklyn at times evokes Spike Lee, which may not be coincidence: Lee was the film’s producer.
BRENDAN SCHAUB: YOU’D BE SURPRISED 10 p.m. on Showtime. “Growing up, my heroes were not wrestlers, they were not fighters, they were not football players — my heroes were stand-up comedians.” Hearing that sentence during a comedy set wouldn’t normally be surprising. But Brendan Schaub, who says that line in trailer for this comedy special, isn’t most comedians: he’s a former M.M.A. fighter who has more recently made a name for himself in the podcast world. Expect him to tell stories from his fighting days in this, his first comedy special.