What’s on TV Sunday: ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Special’
“Game of Thrones” makes its much-anticipated return to HBO. And a new series based on a memoir by a disabled gay 20-something hits Netflix.
What’s on TV
GAME OF THRONES 9 p.m. on HBO. Some have spent the past week celebrating the fact that spring has sprung. Others have had something else in mind: Winter is coming. That tagline for HBO’s fantasy colossus, which has grown bigger and bigger since its 2011 debut, has reached peak relevance in the lead-up to the show’s eighth season, which promises a final showdown between the living and the undead White Walkers (who have an ice dragon!). Season 8 should tie up loose ends while answering the big question of who will ultimately win the throne? Regardless of the answer, the brand is all but guaranteed to actively live on. “Five years from now,” the “Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau recently told The New York Times, “We will all be guides at the Game of Thrones Land.”
LES MISÉRABLES 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Dominic West stars as the Jean Valjean to David Oyelowo’s Javert in this adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel, about the pursuit of love and differing ideas of justice in 19th-century France. You won’t find musical numbers (or Russell Crowe’s pipes) here; this version by the “House of Cards” writer Andrew Davies favors spoken dialogue over singing, and markets itself as a faithful retelling of Hugo’s story.
SPECIAL Stream on Netflix. The writer Ryan O’Connell made a name for himself blogging on the pop culture lifestyle site Thought Catalog, then released a memoir, “I’m Special, and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves,” about his experiences as a disabled gay 20-something. That book provides the basis for this new dark comedy series, which stars O’Connell (a first-time actor) playing a version of himself, with roughly 15-minute-long episodes. The series’s overarching joke “is on people who aren’t disabled, and how they view disabled people,” he recently told The Times. O’Connell said that “giving them a show like ‘Special,’ which is funny and I’m the one making the jokes and I’m the one writing them — I think it makes them feel at ease. They’re like ‘Oh O.K., this isn’t some scary thing. Disabled people are just like me!’ I don’t know why this a revolutionary concept. I just think they don’t know what to do with us at all.”
STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE (2015) Stream on Hulu and Netflix; Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. The filmmaker Alex Gibney anatomizes the legend of Steve Jobs in this ambitious documentary, which charts the Apple leader’s rise and dissects his image as both businessman and transformer of culture, with one eyebrow firmly raised. In his review for The Times, Nicolas Rapold wrote that Gibney’s film “is a chunky mix, with a-little-too-proudly-rolled-out pop songs.” But, he noted, “even if this isn’t the iPhone of documentaries, it gets its point across.”